Monday, January 31, 2011

A Wildly Unordinary Path

God takes the most unlikely of us and makes our stories beautiful and full of purpose.  Read here for a glimpse of God who, through one woman, is shouting out His love to the forgotten, unlovely and the orphaned.  To Him be the glory!


Jesus, thank you for Katie and her willingness to follow you down a wildly unordinary path...for love.  
Amen

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bringing Joy and Purpose to Orphans


Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.


I’ve been reading Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis.  Last night I was reading a chapter with some startling statistics.  There are 143 million orphans in the world.  If only 7 percent of the people who profess to be Christians adopted, every orphan would have a home.   It’s a numbers statement, clearly impossible given the many barriers to adoption, but it’s also a statement of hope.  It only takes a small percentage of the billions of people on this earth to impact these children and give them a family!

This video, the book, the six families I know who are in the process of adoption...I am brought back to Ethiopia and I wonder about the children still in the orphanages that Gia called home for six months.  I wonder.
Gia's orphanage in Mekele, Ethiopia
William went to a men’s group yesterday and learned more about Lifesong, an organization with a simply-put mission:  to bring joy and purpose to orphans.  They do this by mobilizing the church to engage in service: some to adopt, some to care, some to give.  They partner with orphanages and other ministries to meet basic needs and give education, medical care and technical training to orphans.  They also provide adoption grants and loans.   
William carries his new daughter down the stairs of the orphanage in Addis

Organizations that support education are key.   Gia is from an orphanage where all of the kids, from babies to teenagers, were inside four walls all. day. long....no education anywhere in sight, other than a tattered poster of the alphabet on the wall.  Not much hope there.  Thankfully, the situation has changed and they now send the older ones to school.
Another of the orphanage in Mekele

It all brings me to what's next?  What next for our family of five?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Referralversary!!!

One year ago we received that long-awaited phone call.  It’s all here.
Here she is now, playing with her beloved big brother, soaking in love.  
Thank you, thank you, Jesus, for taking us down the path toward our little G.  You have richly blessed us and filled our hearts with such great joy.  Through little G, you have opened our eyes to your heart, given us the gift of inspiring, Sprit-filled friends who joined us on this adoption road, and increased our faith, showing your goodness and providence all along the way.  We could have never imagined.  So glad that you DID imagine this for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goodbye Tooth, Hello Race Car.

When Ethan was in 2nd grade, he lost his permanent front tooth while coming down the slide at recess.  He didn't really lose it, it was completely knocked out.  It was winter, a foot of snow on the ground, and the kids were on the playground throwing snowballs.  Unfortunately one hit him right in the face, his mouth hit the icy slide, and that was that.   His tooth came out completely, root and all.  Someone actually found it in the snow and the dentist put it back in, although it's been dissolving ever since.   
Fast forward to today, four years later, and Ethan finally had the tooth pulled and a bridge is now in its place.  He was not looking forward to this day.  He wondered about the pain.  I laugh at this when I think about all the kid's been through.  He is not a stranger to the E.R., being a typical boy.  He takes drama and pain in stride, and Type 1 diabetes has made him even tougher.  But the tooth, well that's been a different story.   He was clearly unsettled with the entire thought of extraction, the bridge and saying good-bye to his tooth, this time for real.  
We bathed the day in prayer and prepared for a long day of appointments.   Everything went well, no complications, and his new smile looks great, although a lot of healing needs to take place.   Besides bothersome restrictions like "no popcorn for two weeks"  -- which is sort of a big deal for my expert popcorn popping and eating son! -- and no swimming for at least a week, Ethan is well on his way to putting this behind him.
But the real reason for writing this post is to talk about God.  He knew how Ethan felt about today.   He understood his reluctancy and apprehension.  He walked Him through it.  THEN...He chose to bless Ethan with a really awesome thing-that-never-happens happening.
In all my years of driving, I have never seen a real race car on the road, and one certainly has never been right in front of me.  But today, right after the surgery, we found ourselves behind a real race car with sponsors all over it and that vrooming engine sound that thrills a race car nut like my son.  We were at a light and the cool car graced my uncool minivan with sparks and flames shooting out of its exhaust, which caused little bits of something to fly onto our windshield.   It was all kind of surreal, and despite the fact that Ethan had strict orders to limit mouth movement, he had a smile on a mile wide!  And to watch it rev up and take off when the light switched to green...even I was impressed.  
So when some people think that God doesn't really care about the little things...
or doesn't bother to delight the hearts of His children...
or doesn't shower them with simple pleasures...
or doesn't give them rare and flat-out fun experiences like race cars on a common freeway...
HE DOES!
How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light.
Psalm 36:7-9 (Amplified Bible)

Father, You rock.  You made my son smile today in a way that I never could.  You gave him an uber-fun moment in a scary, yuck day.  You lifted his spirits with a race car.  Your out-of-the-box ways delight us and show us that you delight IN US!  I love it.  I love you.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Knole Sofa and The Sniffles



It's sunshiny outside.  Today is one of those unexpected days.   What I planned to do didn't happen because Gia woke  up with a runny little nose and an icky stomach.  Poor thing.  So I canceled the day and settled in for some snuggle time with my little one.  Turns out, she's not much for snuggling when she's sick!



We decided to decorate instead.  Before her too-short nap we took pictures and discussed how we should revive this old knole sofa: 









I bought it years ago from a now defunct antique store.  After staring at the thing for the last five years, this week I finally ordered one big, new comfy cushion insert.  Now I need to choose a fabric and sew the cover, and that certainly can't wait five more years.  So that's why we discussed decorating today, me and G.  As I went through swatches, she patiently listened and then tried to escape up the stairs.



So we went upstairs and read books...and then went back down and had a chat about colors and ideas for the living room, which we're turning into a library.  The room has been bare and neglected for the last seven years, but it has a lot of potential.  We have yet to decide if the knole sofa will stay in this room or go upstairs, but it needs a makeover first.    






I stole some time to catch up on some design blogs.  I felt slightly guilty.  Should have been teaching G how to read or emptying the dishwasher or doing something worthy.  Anyway, the above pic is why I want one big cushion on the knole sofa.  Looks cozy.  Love the color too.  That green is awesome.  The pink wall I could do without.  I think this is an old pic from Domino.   
And here is a watercolor my dad gave me when I was a little girl.  It informs all of the colors in our home.  Everthing ties in with this painting somehow.  I still love it after all these years and never tire of its colors.  It's sentimental and beautiful.







Between the picture-taking and musing over colors, all I did was chase G.   She's quick and triumphant about her walking, even when she's sick!







My peppy girl played let's-see-how-fast-I-can-get-away-from-mom all day long.  Her naps were disappointingly short, her little voice a constant ya-ya-ya, ba-ba-ba-, go-go-go-ing all day!
So much for a cozy day on the couch!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pink Days are Here...15 Months

Our house has never seen pink, talked about pink or thought about pink.  I am a girl, of course, but my wardrobe is a rainbow of neutrals, never bright and certainly never pink.    Our walls are painted all sorts of colors, all firmly planted in the "okay-with-boys" camp.   
But something has happened.  Someone has happened.  

We now have a cute-as-a-button 15-month-old girly girl on our hands.  She loves to dance.  She chooses her pink binky over her yellow binky.   And, now, after mastering the Frankenstein walk, she gets to wear dresses.  


My dear friend bought her a dress in the summer, which she is now proudly wearing in January.  Coincidentally, Pantone has chosen Honeysuckle as the 2011 Color of the Year, a color that "lifts spirits and imparts confidence."  Sounds like my little G!  Here's to you, sweet girl!  You've infused our home with lots of spunk and pink...and we LOVE IT!



Saturday, January 8, 2011

Please, Brain, Organize Thyself!



This morning a very nice lady called to remind me of an appointment next week.  My mind was as blank as the corresponding calendar square.  
Then William yelled to me to put the dog away.   I corralled the dog and before I know it there’s a guy heading towards my family room with a gray toolbox.  I mouthed to Christian, “Who is that?!”  (As if my 10-year-old would know.)  He shrugged.  My mind raced around all the possibilities, and I came up with... nothing!  William solved the mystery, and my foggy mind vaguely remembered making this appointment and...blah, blah...you get the picture!
I have to, have to get it together!  The paper calendar is not working.   Perhaps an iPad is in my future.  Can’t get an iPhone quite yet...and I so long for one.  On Christmas Eve, I said to my many nieces (who were busy texting who knows who while sitting in a little group), “Am I the only one without an iPhone?”  “Yes, Auntie, you are,” one frankly honest niece replied.  *sigh*  
So I downloaded a program called Bento onto my Mac.  It’s supposed to organize your whole life in one place and sync with iCal, etc.  It’s supposed to “see, secure and share your information like never before!”   I’m just using the trial version right now, and it looks promising.   I have tried many paper systems and will try to go paperless now.  I will not miss my little Post-it notes scribbled with confirmation numbers and to-dos, my many little notebooks tucked throughout the house, and the receipts floating around with my grocery list.  I will try to use this computer program for all that...we’ll see.  
When I look back at this post in a year, will missed appointments and forgotten birthdays be a thing of the past?  Really, who am I kidding, I love my Post-it notes.  They will probably still be around in a year.  But my haphazard self really, really hopes and prays that a new system evolves and changes forever my disorganization!  Now off to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing right now...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Intercede Now for Sudan

Rewinding to a year ago, Sudan never crossed my thoughts.  But now it is at the forefront of my thoughts because I have a dear friend who is a Sudanese refugee.  Her heart is heavy for her family in Sudan.  She loves her country and desires peace for her people.  The January 9th referendum is drawing near, and believers are being asked to intercede big time for this day.  www.christianitytoday.com  has some articles explaining what is going on there.  As they say:
"If there were ever a time for intercession in international affairs, this is it."
What do we pray?  From Window International Network, here is a list:
PRAY FOR:
  • Christian Believers in Sudan to engage in spiritual warfare and enforce their spiritual authority in Christ Jesus. Pray for them to put on the full armor of God and stand confidently against the enemy's schemes. (The Bible, Ephesians 1:15-23; 6:11).
  • the LORD to arise and defend His people. Pray for unity in the Body of Christ in Sudan and for the Church to overcome the enemy through prayer and fasting. (The Bible, Psalm 68:1; I Corinthians 12:12; Matthew 16:10)
  • Christian Believers to know those who are with them are more than those who are against them. Pray for the LORD to open their eyes to see the Army of God encamped around them. (The Bible, II Kings 6:16,17)
  • the Lord to raise up prophets who will speak His instruction, hope and vision to the people, helping them during this difficult time. (The Bible, Ezra 5:2)
  • nothing to stand in the way of the voting - not threats, corruption, intimidation, violence, or evil of any kind. (The Bible, Psalm 97:5)
Our God is mighty to save!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resuming While Tired and Crabby = Lots of Room for Grace

On Monday morning I glanced down at my calendar.  I only saw one ominous word scribbled in for Monday: resume.   So we resume.   After being on a big, long holiday and enjoying lazy mornings and lazier evenings, it’s been a tough few days.  The alarms have been set for 5:15 for us, 7:00 for the kids, and none of us have managed to get out of bed before 7:30 yet.  I had high hopes for early morning workouts and meaningful times with the Lord, topped off with a shower and makeup on before 7:00.  
It is 8:00 on Wednesday night.  I am tired.  I am a crab.  I have no makeup on.  In the past three days I have yelled at the kids, been frustrated with a whining Gia and forgotten the one thing I needed when I went to the grocery store.  I did come home with 37 other items that were not nearly as important.   
Yet God is a God of grace.  It is what separates Him completely from every other god, every other religion, every self-help guru on the plant.
In these moments, He whispers to me:
For I will be merciful to your iniquities, and I will remember your sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you...” II Cor. 12:9
For sin shall not be master over me, for I am not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:14 
I have come to know and have believed the love which God has for me.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him...I love, because He first loved me.  John 4:16-17
There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1 

He does not whack me over the head when I sin.  He is pleased with me, no matter what.  I have peace with Him.   Why?  Because of Jesus.  Jesus, once and for all, took the punishment and guilt for my sins on the cross.  All of them  (Romans 5).  God looks at me and sees me as righteous, because Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on my behalf and gave me the gift of His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21).
So in His mercy, He reminds me of these verses, and in these few days of tiredness and frustration, He has given me grace upon grace...to not yell, to make Gia laugh when she whines, to love my husband and my boys.  No, it’s not been pretty all the time, and I have been feeling lots of icky emotions, but the more I meditate upon God’s love for me, His crazy, hard-to-grasp way of extending so much mercy and grace, I realize, my mind flashing to Him in these moments of human-ness, that He is my anchor, my hope, my only source of peace, strength.   I am not a slave to my feelings.   I CAN act in love, through the power of Jesus!  
Thank you, Lord, for showing me more of your grace and your power to influence my actions when I am a tired, snappy girl.  I would say I am immature in these times and hardly a picture of righteousness.  I am really pathetic.  Yet your Word reminds my of my identity in Christ, and You lift me out of the mire.   You are so good.  I claim tonight our favorite nighttime verse:  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make us dwell in safety (Psalm 4).  I look forward to sweet, restoring sleep for all of us tonight.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Promise Fulfilled in 2011

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