Thursday, December 1, 2011


Hooray for Christmas trees
And candlelight
And the good old church pageant.
Hooray for shepherd boys
who forget their lines
And wise men whose beards fall off
And a Mary who giggles.
O Lord, you were born!
And I will celebrate!
I rejoice for the carnival of Christmas!
I clap for pajama-clad cherubs
And the Christmas cards jammed 
in the mail slot.
I o-o-o-oh for the turkey
And ah-h-h-h for the Christmas pudding
And thank God for the alleluias
I see in the faces of people.
O Lord, there aren't enough choir
boys to sing what I feel.
There aren't enough trumpets to blow.
O Lord, I want bells to peal!
I want to dance in the streets of
I want to sing with the heavenly host!
For unto us a Son was given
And he was called God With Us.
For those of us who believe,
The whole world is decorated
in love!

~ Ann Weems

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again."
Psalm 71:20   

Fully Believing,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"I do not believe there is such a thing in the history of God's eternal kingdom as a right prayer, offered in the right spirit, that remains forever unanswered." ~Theodore L. Cuyler 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Face of Encouragement

I've had a period here lately where I have been praying heavily for many things, and one has been encouragement. Encouragement for myself and my family as are hearts are heavy and weary with this leg of service in our lives and we are all very much looking ahead to the moment when we can fully sigh with relief and soak in some time of each other, uninterrupted. 

When I pray something such as this, it is always overwhelming to witness God's response. When He is ready to move on our behalf, he doesn't do it just a little. No, He does it in a way that we have no chance of denying that He has been with us. How grateful I am! How grateful that He is indeed always with us, and, that He loves us so deeply to remind us in very personal ways that touch our heart like nothing else. 

Today I pray that I can be that for my family. 
That I will not miss an opportunity to lift them up and show them my love for them, each in their own personal way. 
Today I pray that I will not be distracted by the things that are out of my control, but instead, I will rest in the knowledge that He is sovereign over all.
Today, I hope we are a light in a dark room that proclaims His glory so clearly that tension and disorder fall away and TRUTH is left standing.
While I also pray for results, more, I pray for His will in our lives and for His peace and protection to blanket us as we wait for His timing to reveal His perfect plan.

"The hedges, or hindrances, are right for us, or He will quickly remove them. And doesn't it stand to reason that whatever seems to block our way may also provide for our protection?" 
~Frances Ridley Havergal

Trusting, Waiting, Hoping,

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Beauty of Mother Bear

My boys and I are reading the delightful story of Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and I'm not sure who is loving it more! (not to mention the girls instantly halt their lessons to listen along as well!)
Mother Bear is such a real, loving, playful and beautiful mother that I just enjoy learning from and being encouraged by. 
Simple Pleasures!

And a reminder that all mother bears also have another side that I equally admire...
FIERCE: A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. (Agatha Christie)

One of the great balances of life!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

A flicker

It's there.
It may just be a glimmer.
It may still be far in the distance.
It's there.
And some days, that's enough.

Psalm 71:14 "As for me, I will always have hope."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fairytale Ending Please!

Sometimes we have an idea of how things should be. 
I know I do.
Sometimes that includes a fairytale ending. And sometimes what we thought to be the original idea of a perfect, fairytale ending changes. This can be challenging and emotional for sure.

But our hope lies in this....TRUTH.
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
He already knows the end of our story.
He already knew the circumstances that face us this day were coming. 
He knew what our reaction would be...positive or negative.
Jeremiah 18:4 "But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." 
He is not surprised.
He loves us either way.
He wants good for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For 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."
In all that I face, I must trust Him. I must abide in TRUTH.
Jeremiah 31:17 "So there is hope for your future, declares the Lord."
I will wait for Him. For His best. For I am certain His fairytale ends far more beautiful than any I could conjure in my simple mind!
Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory for ever and ever."
Depending on His Grace to make it all possible.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where Are You?

"Wherever you are - be all there." - Jim Elliot

Do you ever struggle with this?
I do.
Like you I'm sure, if I start to list all I am in a day the list can quickly grow on and on. I find myself often just attempting to keep up. But this quote challenges me so deeply. And for whatever reason, I feel God has made purpose for it to fall into my path multiple times this week. I am trying to heed. Trying to listen.
It really is SO MUCH BETTER when I am fully present. 
My Life - Gloriously busy, beautifully messy, overwhelmingly blessed.
What could be better?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ah, Fall......

 Yes, normally this would be a sign of spring, but seems we have a little late bloomer. This little guy fell from his nest just outside our carport and we discovered him hiding in the corner of our carport. We hastily put the cat indoors and struggled with whether we should allow his family the chance to return for him or whisk him away to our own handmade safety. In the end, daddy's recommendation of giving him a fair chance with his family won out. We did however watch and listen carefully the rest of the evening until we saw and heard some adult birds arrive that seemed to be echoing his desperate little cries. We hope he is safe and sound where he was meant to be now.

A sweet reminder of this old song...

Monday, August 22, 2011


I share about adoption and adoption related articles, fundraisers and events a lot here. This weekend I had the privilege of listening to this message that talks about the beauty of and most meaningful adoption of all and wanted to share that it might encourage another the way it did me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Win/Win!

UPDATE 8/19!!!! She is fully funded! Now to be connected to her Forever Family...pray that happens as quickly as her funds were raised!

I'm not posting this for entries....I'm not entering. But I had to share this CRAZY HUGE giveaway going on at No Greater Joy Mom all to help a precious girl be united with her forever family!

Meet Liliana.
Read more about efforts here.
She is eleven years old. She weighs 10 pounds. She needs to be rescued and loved forever!
And to help her family with the funds, No Greater Joy Mom has put together a giveaway like none I've ever seen before!

Here are just a few of the items you can win when you donate...
iPad (there are 2 to give away!)
$500 Target Gift Card
$500 Wal-mart Gift Card
Amazon Gift Cards
 iPod Nano
Kindle (there are 5 to give away!!!)
jewelry, purses, children's items...and MORE!

Go donate to this amazing cause HERE and enter!

Blessings and prayers for this sweet girl,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Year Ago...

A year ago today, we got the call. It was a moment in an ordinary day that changed everything!
It was of course a call we had been preparing for. And we expected it would most definitely change things. But, we had NO IDEA to what extent!

God has truly taught us so much about who we are, how He loves and what it means to follow His will over our own. It's really hard some days, but it's also really beautiful.

As for the waiting....well, that continues. Seems we still have lots to learn in this area. :)

I think the hardest part for me is often not knowing how to pray or even if it is safe to hope. But I do trust. I trust that He sees the bigger picture and has purpose well beyond my understanding. I will wait. And I pray I will do so well and in a way that brings Him glory...truth is, some days my feelings and frustration get the best of me...just ask my sweet husband and the dear friend whose ear has heard it all!

Bottom line though, God is faithful and He has allowed us a great privilege to play a part in His plan and be blessed by a home full of children and laughter and toys and tears and joy and love, while we do so...TOGETHER.

Peacefully Reliant on Him,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you ever forget?

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." ~Matthew 10:29-31

Trying to remember,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Create H.O.P.E Designs!

Create Hope Designs
You're gonna want to follow this! Very exciting stuff, coming soon, to support "even the least of these"!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?
Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"
~From Streams in the Desert~

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gentle Reminder

My husband read this to our family last night and it was such a clear and gentle reminder to me of God's love for us, right where we are.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul. 

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no eveil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and they staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 - KJV

Friday, July 8, 2011

The weight of wings

I love this book.

Every time I pick it up it encourages and challenges me.

Today God has chosen to speak to my heart through this book once again. I am so thankful.

When you think of a bird in flight, the last thing that probably comes to mind is a heaviness, a burden or weight. Just the opposite are the ideas that flood my thoughts. Today's message challenges that, by asking that one consider the birds as carefree and song-filled before being offered the weight of wings. However, with the added burden, also comes a freedom that would otherwise have gone undiscovered. How true this is of life!

These two quotes share the idea so beautifully, I wanted to share....(and if you don't have this book, it's a must have!)
"There is no burden so heavy that when lifted cheerfully with love in our hearts will not become a blessing to us. God intends for our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our shoulders to carry a load is to miss a new opportunity for growth." ~J.R. Miller

"No matter how overwhelming, a burden God has lovingly placed with His own hands on our shoulders is a blessing." ~Frederick William Faber

There are absolutely days I wish to avoid it, more than I wish to admit, but truth is, I don't want to miss it! I'm certain His best for me is far greater than that which I can imagine on my own!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reflection and Purpose

Sometimes the circumstances of life offer the opportunity for unexpected reflection. This week has been just that for me. My grandmother was very ill, and passed away late Tuesday evening, so I have traveled to my "home" town twice this week. Due to the complications of the situation I traveled alone the first trip.

Driving "home" is always a mix of emotions....both good and bad. Obviously the reason for my trip being bad this time. However, as I began to drive into town, see familiar places and reflect on where my sweet husband and I have come over the passed 15 years it was encouraging.

"Home" was where we soon moved to after we were married. It is where we got to know one another and embark on the planning of our future. It is where much of our extended family is and where our own family began with the birth of our first child 12 years ago tomorrow. The pause of the norm that this week allowed me was a humbling breath of fresh air.

We are living the dream.

All the things we hoped for, planned for, dreamed of and discussed, we are square in the middle of. Yes, much of it is different from what we had envisioned, but the truth is, it is far better than we imagined! Far bigger! And far more reliant on God....which is so good. I needed this realization. I needed it right now.

The unexpected trials and challenges of foster parenting no doubt take an emotional tole on us. I often react in anger or bitterness rather than faith and hope as I wish I did. But, I don't doubt for a single minute that we are right where He would have us. Right where He groomed us to be. Our days full of many, many things, but also full of purpose for Him and His desires.

Overwhelmingly grateful for the reminder not to miss it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grace Interrupted

You know those times when you think you have made progress in your life? When you have the idea that you have "grown" to a new place, a new understanding and that what others think really doesn't matter? Isn't it funny how God chooses to take those very times to give us a bit of a reality check? To remind us who we are, where we have come from and frankly who we would be without Him. Yea. Sometimes it's really not funny at all.

Last night we had more foster parenting classes. (Yes, it is very interesting that we invest more hours in training than birth parents often do, but that is the reality of the situation.) This time wasn't near as pleasant as Saturday. There were a couple of very opinionated and frankly, clueless individuals in the class that had me feeling like a cat petted backwards. And regrettably, I reverted to my sarcastic, fleshly self rather than allowing His grace to mechanism that obviously still needs work.

Note to anyone considering foster care: If you are naive enough to believe that "love can fix anything" or that "all a child needs is a hug/love/attention/fill in the blank" just be quiet and listen. Don't contribute. Because if you are in the system long enough, you will meet "the one" that absolutely shatters it all. And if God quickly and clearly wants to develop your humility, compassion and understanding of how genuinely clueless you are, He may even allow that "one" to be your first placement. And if you are quiet at the beginning, or before you have met "the one", you won't feel as stupid when it all happens. I promise. :)

For now, I'll just keep trying to swallow this reminder...

Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, "I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin"?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Foster Parent HOO-RAH!

We had the privilege to spend the day Saturday with a bunch of local foster parents. We were all there for the same reason...cramming the yearly training classes in at the last minute...but, it was such a blessing to be with them. Foster parenting is one of those things that you aren't permitted to openly discuss, nor is it fully understood by others, until you are in a group like this.

I must admit, I was dreading the classes. I mean come on, Saturdays are sacred and to give up the entire day to sit in a class, have group discussions with strangers and watch boring powerpoints that frankly portray ideal scenarios that everyone in the class knows are absolutely ridiculous, except for the presenter. Yea, a real fun event.

But, I was wrong. These folks were amazing!

Now, let me just get it out there....I'm not talking about ALL foster parents, I know there are "bad apples" in every group, and I'm certainly not talking about DCS, the court system or the laws controlling the lives of all the precious children represented in that room. No, I'm talking collectively about the group we got to glimpse into the lives of Saturday. They were amazing!

We were pleasantly surprised and humbled by these genuinely loving people who have said "yes" to the unexpected....regardless of where they are in their lives right now. Yes to children who have been dealt a life that means they have serious baggage at young ages. Yes to unpredictable schedules and even more unpredictable birth parents. Yes to giving up their quiet, together homes for busy, overflowing ones. Yes to the headaches of extended family in kinship placements. Yes to regular caseworker visits. Yes to loss of privacy. Yes to repeated heartaches. They say yes everyday with no promises of tomorrow. And you know what else, they keep saying yes. Over and over. With no guarantee that it all won't happen again. They put it out there knowing how bad it hurts when you pour your all into a particular situation that you have no control over the outcome of. They know how bad it hurts to try and help a child so badly scarred that they may never recover, to finally accept that sometimes you just have to let go. They know things they wish they never knew, and they still say yes.

Single mothers, giving up their quiet routines.

Already established families, some rather large, opening themselves and their children up to more.

And the "group" that was represented that probably penetrated my heart most deeply...and honestly surprised me by the number alone...the Great Grandparents. Yes, GREAT Grandparents. People in their late 70s (or better!) saying "yes" to their great grandchildren who had been brought into custody. People who care so deeply for these children and are truly seeking the best for them, even when it's hard and even when it hurts. They were amazing.

I honestly can't believe that we get to be considered part of this group.

We were humbled and our hearts challenged.

We were reminded of why on earth we ever said "yes" in the first place. And while I have most admittedly had the thought of "if I make it through this one, I'm done!"....well, let's just say NOTHING in the adventure of foster parenting is predictable. Nothing.

So thankful for reminders like this of how big our God is!
Hoping for the HIS best,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


At this very moment, if I had to choose just one word to describe my life it would be STICKY! And so that it isn't read as all bad, I'll share some of the why....

homemade strawberry jam
birth parents
juice spills on the table
coke spills on the desk
mud from a water fight
hot glue
working with DCS
my sweet boy's chin and fingers and even hair
the way they cling to me
big hugs
sick baby
sweaty shirts
flip flops on dirty feet
more popsicles
toothpaste in my sink
juice box squeezes
bottoms to the slide
kisses, kisses, yummy kisses!

I've certainly got it made!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

They really are listening...

The impact of all the talking that goes on in our home as a foster family is something I have become more and more aware of recently. Whether it be my husband and I mulling over the "What Ifs" and preparations or our children simply witnessing our prayers, they are listening. When the case managers visit and discuss the court dates and legal aspects, they are listening. When friends and family ask questions, they are listening. When there is contact with birth parents, they are listening. Additionally, they are watching. Every. Single. Move. Every reaction. And taking in every word.

This my friends, is a heavy, heavy weight. My children are learning of things that I would have chosen to wait until they were much older to discuss with them. Things that make them sad. Things that make them angry. Things that hurt and that there is no explanation, no understanding for. Some of this is just part of the territory. BUT....... it is still my job to protect each of them from too much of any of the above. To guard their tender ears and their tender hearts. To nurture their desire for justice and to guide their misunderstandings to the feet of Our Heavenly Father who holds it all in his hands.

It is important to have those that we can openly share with, and it is important that my husband and I openly discuss the steps of our journey. It is important that we openly discuss this with our children. However, my husband and I have just been talking about how we must be more attentive to what we discuss in their presence. And then today, I read this article that reminded me even further of the importance of discretion for our family. Short term and long term. I am thankful for these reminders. There is no doubt I have failed in this area, but I believe I am being offered a chance to reevaluate and protect in a new way. I intend to make best of this second chance.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walkin' on Water

I've started to post several times this week, but haven't known where to begin. We have experienced some interesting hurdles that I would just as soon have avoided all together. Nonetheless, they are a reality of the journey we are on.

I've found myself realizing even more how much like Peter I am. As I look to Christ standing upon the water with His hand outstretched saying "Come to me." I have stepped out of the boat, zealous, with my eyes fixed upon Him and His calling. Then......then, I find myself distracted by the waves around us, the threatening of yet another storm and the potential of danger, and all at once, I begin to sink. I sink into the "What Ifs", and of course the "Whys"...both, very dangerous waters. They can quickly consume. Then, like the child I am, I find myself looking up saying "Lord, where did you go? Where are you?" when He has never moved. He still stands firm, hand outstretched to me. It was me who lost sight, not Him. Why, after His proving Himself to me over and over and over am I still so easily rocked by the waves of the circumstances that surround me? Why, oh why is my faith so weak? Why are my eyes and mind so easily distracted from the One who carries it all? 

But then....once I refocus and my heart realigns with Him, in that very moment, without delay, He meets me. And then offers me yet more blessings, tonight, in the form of a sleeping babe on my chest. How overflowing my gratitude is...even if my faith has far to grow. :)

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord;  trust in him and he will do this.

Friday, May 13, 2011

In My Heart!

Movie night with the family and it's an oldie, Disney's Tarzan. LOVE this song!!!

You'll Be In My Heart - Phil Collins

Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand
Hold it tight

I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry

For one so small,
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry

'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart, always

Why can't they understand
The way we feel?
They just don't trust
What they can't explain
I know we're different but,
Deep inside us
We're not that different at all

[Repeat Chorus]

Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know?
We need each other
To have, to hold
They'll see in time
I know

When destiny calls you
You must be strong
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on
They'll see in time
I know
We'll show them together

[Repeat Chorus]

Oh, you'll be in my heart (You'll be here in my heart)
No matter what they say (I'll be with you)
You'll be here in my heart,
I'll be there always

I'll be with you
I'll be there for you always
Always and always
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there always

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Waiting Life

I'm not a patient person. Let's just get it out there. Surprise for those who know me I'm sure! ;) But patience, in general, does not come naturally for me. I'm a planner. A get-it-donner. I pride myself on efficiency, whether it be making the most of my errand time by hitting all the necessary spots in one trip....even if an unscheduled trip or whether it be having the flow of my day operate smoothly and having lots to show accomplished at the end. Therefore, waiting....waiting just doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit into an "efficient" plan. At least for me. God on the other hand doesn't seem so worried with efficiency. Nope. That one doesn't seem to be at the top of the list or even on His radar for the most part. Instead, He knows exactly the time that is needed in advance for all things to be accomplished according to His will. He has no problem allowing time to pass, seemingly wasted, since He knows that often, the delays of life are as crucial to my growth and fulfillment as His direct answers to my prayers. I am so overwhelmingly thankful that He knows me so well!
I read this in my most favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert, today...
"No amount of persecution will try you as much as experiences like these - ones in which you are required to wait on God."
While I and my family have most definitely seen our share of trials, I must admit the absolute truth of this statement. While I do not like waiting, not even a little bit, I am thankful for the continued growth it brings. In this time, He has given me the opportunity to marvel at His ways and process His work in me. Oh for His patience with me! What a blessing! He knows me fully and yet hasn't given up on me, regardless of how slow the process of my growth at times. Praise You Father for your amazing love!

Years ago, as a young mother, when I read the verse Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God" I can remember thinking "HOW? How can one do that? I'm not a "still" person! I wish I knew how to be. I know this is what God wants of me, but how?". Well, little did I know that He was listening, and heard the silent prayer from within me that my lips didn't even know how to pray. He is teaching me. And slowly, I am learning.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Remorselessly Mothering

So here is the scripture I read today...

Luke 6:27-28
"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."

I'd say this is one of the hardest things for me to do at times. My instinct is to defend, justify, even avoid. I don't want to be around people who hate me! Who does? But the truth is, whether hated or not, we are faced with the challenge to love everyday. Love is most definitely a choice. A choice of selflessness. If I'm honest with myself, it can even be hard at times to truly love those dearest to me....let alone, those who hate me/curse me/abuse me! I'm not one who thinks love can fix all things, but as a Christian, I do believe I am called to love regardless. 

Now, let's make it a bit more complicated. How about when someone hates/curses/abuses one who is dear to you??? Yea, that raises a different hair doesn't it!? It most certainly does for me! Even as I type it. I was just having this conversation with a very dear friend of mine after witnessing her son become unusually upset by a recent incident. Not because someone was mistreating him, but because someone was mistreating one of my children, his friend, someone he cares for. I believe he was fully ready to defend his friend, whatever the cost, when had the ill treatment been directed at him, he most likely would have ignored it. I am thankful for his genuine care and consider it honorable.

So how do you do both? How do you love on both ends of the spectrum, and defend the defenseless at the same time? How is there balance in the two? This is a personal struggle I face almost daily. I think what I have realized for myself is that it all comes down to the motives of my heart. When I stop to more deeply consider my reactions of defense, justification and avoidance they are with the genuine heart of protection in mind. Especially as a mother. I believe those motives are pure. And while my reaction may at times seem harsh or even unloving, as long as my motives are of pure heart, then I believe I am indeed acting in love. For love is not the romantic, gushing emotion portrayed to us through movies and novels. Love is constant. Present. Real. Unshaken. Love takes responsibility for the blessings it is given. Love is selfless.

This is the kind of love I believe God has chosen to display on a regular basis and throughout history, through mothers. A mother's love and nurturing is irreplaceable in a child's life and is like no other. And with that thought, I wish all the selfless mothers out there, who are constant, present, real, unshaken and counting their blessings everyday a very Happy Mother's Day!

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path." ~Agatha Christie

Remorselessly Mothering,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sew Happy Together!

Wow! Has life taken a most interesting twist these past few weeks! Something I am still in awe of and completely grateful for! Fun, exciting, unpredictable and together...what could be better?

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Pausing to do just this, I have an overwhelming list of His goodness and blessings to consider since my last post...
Family Time
Smooth Transitions
Sandy Beaches
Warm Sun
Days filled with nothing
Staying up way too late
Enjoying lots of "junk food"
Hearing my children delight in each other and in His creation
Seashells & Starfish
Safe Travel
Protection from storms
His "Mysterious Ways"
Giggles with my girls
Sofa snuggling
Witnessing God's hand at work
Kite flying
Blooming personalities
The sound of the ocean
Flip flops
Forgetting the time of day
Birthday parties
Marshmallow Peeps
Rest Areas
Rare quiet moments when all kids are asleep in the car
True Friends

I could seriously go on and on, but the point being, I have so much to be thankful for and am especially grateful for the un-distracted time to pause and consider it all.

Living in the moment,

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Today she's coming home!!! The one I placed in the carseat and watched pull away 2 months ago is coming home! There will be "technicalities", paperwork and struggles to understand again I am certain, but tonight, tonight will be a celebration! I can hardly wait! To see her sweet face, to kiss her and hug her, to watch the children surround and smoother her with their love, to feel the peace of knowing where she will sleep her her her home. Her name fills the air again as the excitement rises and the anticipation grows while we prepare for her. She will travel with us, so everyone is a buzz helping to gather and pack her things. And, if it weren't enough of a blessing to have her come back, and to get to take her on vacation with us, we will get to celebrate her birthday with her this coming week! Very cool!

I love the mystery that is God! His ways are completely unpredictable and perfect. And no matter what lies ahead, I trust He is at work. If we had tried to script this scenario it would have sounded well, ridiculous and certainly impossible. But, our God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us". (Ephesians 3:20) I will trust Him. The God of limitless resources who knows all that is to come and is allowing me to be a part. Wow. How can I do anything but celebrate?

Her time away has been many things, but a learning experience like no other. For now, I understand that which I did not before. Regardless of where she is, she is a part of this family and will forever be!

With a Heart FULL of Gratitude,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Sure is a bumpy ride! The roller coaster that our experience with foster care has been just continues! And it's far more interesting and unpredictable than I could ever have dreamed up! We are simply HANGIN' ON and saying "Yes, Lord!".

I was recently offered the opportunity to write an article for a popular baby product company about foster care. Normally, I would have jumped at the chance and had a mouthful to share on many given topics if given such an opportunity. I have remained speechless on this. Not even an intro to work from. Total blank. I determined that if I were indeed suppose to write this article it would have to come from God, and I have resolved to wait. Not shut the door, but just place it on the back burner until God moves it forward and turns up the heat...if He so desires. So I continue to pray about it and wait. I don't want to let a rare and wonderful opportunity pass, but I don't want to open my mouth without His absolute direction. Trusting that my blankness is not an accident and perhaps the story that I am to tell just isn't fully written yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Standing Firm...Believing!

Isn't it interesting and even overwhelming when you feel a stirring within you, something that you can't fully explain or even put your finger on, THEN....when you pause to seek Him, He answer clearly? Why should that even surprise me? He wants me to seek Him for everything and He wishes to provide my churning heart and brain with answers. He does not desire to leave me hanging. I think perhaps, I do that to myself.
I like to have "the plan". I like to know what to expect. Funny thing is, God just wants me to believe. Believe what He says. Believe He can do all things. Believe that He will....yes, for me. I find myself in the midst of the unpredictable, and while the possibilities roll within my mind, and there is certainly a bit of unrest that I can't explain, I believe. While I look forward to answers, I am not dependent on them. This is very new to me! Right now, it is enough to know He is in control. And wow! That is good!
And this reminder from some writings of Charles H. Spurgeon I read this morning speak straight to my waiting heart...

"Stand firm. I must maintain the posture of one who stands, ready for action, expecting further orders, and cheerfully and patiently awaiting the Director's voice. It will not be long until God will say to me, as distinctly as He told Moses to tell the children of Israel, "Move on" (Ex. 14:15)."

Friday, April 15, 2011


My timely readings today...

Psalm 119:42  I trust in your word.

My reminders of Faith...

Faith rests on the pure Word of God alone.

Faith has nothing to do with feelings, impressions, outward appearances, or probability of an event.

God delights in causing us to exercise our faith. Delights. I can't read that word without smiling.

"Oh, may we leave ourselves in the hands of our heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children." Do I believe this? Do my actions represent that belief? Does my heart?

I am learning. Learning to fully appreciate His gentleness and kindness, so I will be able to say just how good He is, and so I will know what a delight it is to His heart to do good for me.

When we take Him at His word our hearts are at peace.

"I will patiently wait to see the good God will do in my life, with the calm assurance He will do it."

 Reading and quotes from Cowan's Streams in the Desert.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Distraction, Daydreams and a tad of Conviction

That just about sums up right where I'm at! Let's take it in reverse....

The sweet little What Every Child Needs flip calendar that sits by my desk, yes, the one that only gets turned on the appropriate date randomly, provides the conviction...

Affirmation: Crazy-About-Me Love

What are the obstacles that keep us from responding to our children's need for affirmation with our undivided time and attention? For most of us, the answer is clear. It is busyness. It is the tyranny of the urgent, those tasks that are not more important than our children, but which we somehow find ourselves responding to first.

UGH!!!!!! Foot in the gut!

I've heard His sweet voice whispering this very thing to my heart for weeks now. It's not so much lack of my physical presence, but that of my mind. My mind is in constant race mode. Getting done, catching up, preparing for what's next. I have a very hard time sitting still in my own home, as there always seems to be something that needs my attention. But certainly nothing as precious and worthy of my UNDIVIDED attention as my kiddos. Keyword in CAPS there in case you missed that. Most of the things swimming about would all be considered "good" things....well, assuming keeping the laundry up is "good". :) You get the idea.

We are only days away from this...

Now you understand the Distraction and Daydreaming part of my title! While we are churning about getting the house all tidy...I hate to leave a dirty house, because coming home from a break like this is hard enough, I at least want to come back to a clean house! One of those thing embedded in me by my mother I think! Nonetheless, I want it all in order and have already begun packing and making the checklists for meals and travel items needed. This is amidst the normal daily operations of lessons, laundry, work and so on. I keep telling myself that when we get there, it will be a week of no "busyness". A week of undivided attention for my family. A week away from all the distractions that prevent this day to day. While I am so excited for this time, it also aches my heart that the "busyness" robs so much the other 51 weeks of the year. I feel a soul reset coming. I am looking forward to this time of staying up too late, playing in the ocean, building sandcastles, getting sunburned, winning all the card games, but my prayer for this time away is a deep reconnection with my family. That we will not only enjoy the break from going through the motions, but that we will also not return to it. I am hopeful that we will come home both refreshed and re-focused! Freely reminded that most importantly, we need to "Be still and know that He is God". Ps. 46:10

Daydreaming of warm sand between my toes,

Friday, April 8, 2011


Today my heart breaks for a mother I do not know. A mother a world away from me who made the most difficult decision of her life just hours ago. The decision to give her child life....but without her. For that was his only chance to live. I simply can't imagine. I weep for her.

You see, the country where she lives, she doesn't have access to medical care the way we do here in the US. When one of my babies was born with something that had to be medically addressed, it was immediately taken care of. No real thought involved. Even times when treatment took place in the comfort of my home. While I knew there would be co-pays, medical bills and our monthly insurance premiums would continue, I had no fear that my child's care would be rejected because I didn't have the money for it. I simply can't imagine.

Now, I sit watching the face of a blue-mouthed baby on my computer screen knowing that somewhere not far from him, his mother is aching for him. I can imagine her heart was shattering around her as she prepared him. Clothed him, swaddled him tightly, tucking in his necessities of diapers and formula and getting in the taxi with him in her arms for the last time. I can imagine the desperation as she lay him at the gate of the children's home, kissing him a final goodbye and leaped back into the taxi to drive away, broken. Fully broken. My eyes blur as it plays out in my mind. This child will be called abandoned, but I call him loved.

This mother knew this was his only chance to survive whatever ails his tiny body and robs him of the oxygen he needs to live. He had obviously been well cared for, had even recently been in a hospital it appears. This was not what she wanted for her precious son. She wanted to be his mother. To nurture and grow him into the person he was meant to be. To teach him, to cuddle him, to bathe him, feed him, love him every day of his life. I'm certain she will love him every day, think of him over and over, wondering what ever became, but she will not be able to do any of the rest.

He is now in an orphanage where he will hopefully get the medical treatment he needs very soon. Then if he does, he will be cared for amongst others with possible similar stories. Then, if he meets the qualifications and has someone to go to bat for him, he may be available for adoption one day. Hopefully, his medical condition will not cause him to be overlooked and he will find a "forever family" quickly. Hopefully, he will grow up surrounded by their love and support. Hopefully, he will only have limited long-term effects of his medical condition. And hopefully, when he sees the scars on his body caused by his life saving surgeries he will be reminded of his mother that made the ultimate sacrifice for love. Hopefully, his confidence in this will outweigh any other doubts.

I'm one of those that in the past naively believed that all children in orphanages were "abandoned", "unwanted", even "unloved". I am severely convicted by these thoughts now. While I'm not foolish enough to believe that there aren't children who fall into these categories, remember, I've worked with the US foster system...I do now consider the possibility of a parent who felt there was no other choice. A parent forced to make a decision that makes my insides clinch within me. This is true injustice.

It leads me back to my thoughts of Family Based Care. What if instead, this mother had a place to get the medical/financial assistance needed to care for her son? What if instead of providing for him through the orphanage and adoption system, supporters were able to contribute to his care while he remained with his family? What if the heart-wrenching scenario just described never had to play out again? That families who truly loved and wanted to care for their children were given every chance? Then, only those children who desperately needed someone to stand up and fight for them would remain in orphanages awaiting families. Perhaps this would impact the overwhelming numbers of the current orphan crisis? Perhaps this would allow for fewer parents who carry the guilt of their difficult decision the rest of their lives and children who always wonder why? I can't help but think so.

I am aware of one organization that has earned such privileges in China, Love Without Boundaries. They have been able to assist families in getting and funding healing surgeries for their children. This excites me!
And until there are no more orphans, there are also amazing organizations like the Starfish Foster Home who spend their lives daily caring for these children in need. For them I am eternally grateful!

Pray for God's hand at work. Support those making the change. Spread the word to others.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"We need to get real."

I have been so blessed to get to know an amazing woman behind a ministry called Children In Families (CIF) in Cambodia. Thanks to the gift that is the internet, I have been able to correspond with her, learn about her, her family, her heart and her ministry. Today she shared this video that spoke straight to my heart...

I recently read this article about Cambodian orphans and was particularly struck by the idea of orphanage tourism. While I am not an adoptive parent, I have had the privilege of serving orphans and adoptive parents in a variety of ways and countries over the past several years. I have observed, that something that is very common when families travel to adopt, is orphanage visits. While as a parent, I have always thought how if I were adopting, I would of course want to see where my child had come from, I must admit that I hadn't stopped to consider the fact that an orphanage is a child's HOME while they are there. How confusing and threatening to have strangers visit and "tour" your home. How many times in my church-filled life have I witnessed and even supported these type of most well-intention but often short sighted mission attempts? All the while, dreaming of a chance to go myself. Is it possible that we have indeed missed the mark? For me, I have been challenged in the depths of my heart to reconsider my own definition of "orphan" and it has not been easy.

I'm a somewhat fidgety person. A person who needs a tangible way to serve. You know, a Martha! Yep. I'm a Martha. Practically minded. Busy, busy, busy DOING for the Lord. Funny thing is, He doesn't need my doing...He needs my heart. It's easy to see a need, especially when that need involves a suffering child and want to find a solution. But doing so in haste can often intensify the issue. Even worse, what if my efforts are fueling the very thing I wish to see solved? This makes me shiver! And Oh! how it challenges my impatient desire to just fix it!

Frankly, I hadn't stopped to connect orphans and human trafficking. Those two were entirely separate issues requiring entirely separate services and solutions. Not so. As much as it aches my heart to consider, the orphan is the most vulnerable to trafficking. They are often an unprotected market for predators.

Another fact, that from where I sit in the US seems incredibly far fetched at times, is that children classified as "orphans" or living in an orphanage aren't always without parents (which is what my original definition of orphan consisted of...a child without parents either by death or abandonment). I think the first time I had to consider this reality was when the earthquakes happened in Haiti early last year. It's easy to have a quick response that if a parent would allow their child(ren) to live in an orphanage then that child would be better off with a different family. The fact is, I have never been faced with some of the decisions, poverty, lack of food, water, shelter and basic needs that many of the parents in other parts of the world have, so I can not collectively judge. Culture is entirely different all over the world, and must be considered. Assuming that because I have more education, money and resources than I have more to offer is a dangerous slope.

Now, this does not in anyway discredit the genuine need for adoption in many cases. As I mentioned, I have been ever so blessed to follow and witness many adoptions both domestic and international. The gift that adoption is to these families and those that know them is remarkable! Lives have no doubt been forever changed. I think what is important though, is to realize that adoption certainly is not the first option to consider and may often not be the best option either. The orphan crisis is certainly a reality. The solution must come from a variety of measures and a joint effort.

Family is something I hold extremely dear....the absolute most precious and important thing on earth to me. Partly because of this, I find myself pulled to the idea of investing in Family Based Care. This really shouldn't seem too new an idea to those of us in the US, since this is exactly why there aren't orphanages in the US. Family Based Care offers what institutions can not and prevents additional orphans, therefore lessening the possibility of child trafficking and providing an opportunity for developing a more healthy, connected individual. For this practically minded Martha, it just makes sense to start where the issue can be prevented rather than solved.

Trusting Him to continue showing the way,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Climbed that mountain!

Today I cleaned THE room. The room that has been shut since the baby left. The room that I have avoided at every measure. I didn't do this by my own initiative either, I must admit, but rather on the motivation that the caseworker will be coming for her first visit since the children left. Yes, apparently she will visit once every three months as long as our home is "open". And, our home is still open. We haven't felt clearly lead for it to be otherwise. Just on hold. Not sure for how long, and feel no hurry in this area right now. BUT, I did need to clean the nursery, as it had become little more than a storage room for every piece of anything baby that came into our path to be tossed.

This was not something I really wanted to do, but it was good. And I was reminded of what I do have by the message on the wall above the crib,

The children and I were all crammed in the tiny, messy space at one point talking about how it made us all feel to be back in that room. The roller coaster of emotions spilled again as we giggled and cried and questioned what's next. To the what's next? there isn't an answer quite yet. But we faced it with conversation today like we have been avoiding as much as the room itself.

As we talked, and speculated on the "what ifs" I could sense that like me, the children wanted to be open to another baby in our home, but at the very same time were guarded. Rightfully so! Their hearts have been broken like I would never wish. But, I believe they understand love like few their ages. True love, love like Christ showed for us on the cross and shows us in His acceptance of our brokenness everyday. This kind of love isn't always pretty and it certainly isn't fairytale romantic! Even better though, it is real.

At one point in the conversation I asked what we were suppose to do, just have our hearts broken again and again and again and then glued back together until there was nothing but glue??? To which my 6 year old replied, "We don't use glue mommy. We use God." OH YES!!!! You're exactly right my precious, wise son! And if we come to the place where our lives are nothing but God then we have indeed made it to where He wants us!

I am thankful today for lessons learned and for the gift of solitude. I read from my favorite devotional today, Streams in the Desert, about the widow and her two sons in Kings. Kings 4:4 says "Go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons." They were to be alone with God. I understand so well, how God works best in these times of little distraction. These are the times that I'm reminded how dependent I am on Him and what really matters.This quote stood out to me from what I read today,

"Most Christians lead a treadmill life-a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone."
Oh to cling to that truth!

These are not easy times, but they are beautiful times! And the further up that daunting mountain he brings me, the more breathtaking and awe inspiring the view.
From our "mountain climb" hike this weekend...

Trusting, absorbing, wondering,