Sunday, December 30, 2007

Heaven gained an Angel today

Today, my precious friend Melissa went to be with the Lord. The pain and struggles that she has endured over the past few years are gone. I praise God that she is resting at the feet of Jesus and will suffer no more. My heart is full of wonderful memories of her love, laughter and friendship. Her smile was contagious- as was her faith. Thank you God for the 38 years she was here.....and for the promise that one day we will be together again. I love you my precious friend- you will be missed.

If you have an extra minute could you please pray for her husband and 2 daughters that she left behind. They still have a lot to face and I know they would appreciate it.

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. " Luke 22:42

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I remember...

One of the reasons I brought my 12 -year -old daughter, Addisyn, with me on the mission trip to Guatemala was because I thought it would be a good idea for her to really see, first hand, how most of the world lives. You know, sort of shock her- make her realize how she has so much. I thought I'd teach her not to be asking for so much- like preteen age girls are known for doing. But God knows we are like that ... like when we sit in church and think to ourselves- "oh boy I wish so and so was here to hear THIS sermon" that is when God hits us right between the eyes and teaches us.

I was at Walmart today with my boys. (I have this love/hate relationship with Walmart but that is a whole other story). Anyway- we were exchanging something for a different size and as I waited in line behind all the others who were making their returns and exchanges- the carts lined up from wall to wall caught my attention. They were sitting there filled to the rim with returns- most likely doubles of gifts people already have- or gifts people didn't really want. God used that moment to draw me back... to remind me of our time in Guatemala, like I had prayed He would. Lord, please change me, please let me always remember...

I have been to Guatemala several times now- 2 times to bring home our girls, one time to visit Mya while she was still at the orphanage, and the 4th time for our missions trip to Eagles Nest Orphanage. Of course bringing home our girls was one of the most amazing experiences of my life- but the mission trip- it was life changing. Not only because we held, diapered, sang to and fell in love with the orphans- but also because this was the first chance I had ever really been given to love the people outside of the orphanage. By the end of the week over 400 Guatemalan children and mothers attended the Vacation Bible school we put on. I remember sitting in one of the pews one day and in walked this group of children. I'm not sure why this particular group of kids touched my heart so much- maybe it was because they were dirty from head to toe... but really most of them were. Maybe it was because one of the little girls reminded me of my daughter Aleigha. Although, I saw her beauty in a lot of the little girls. I think though the real reason was because underneath the dirt and aside from the beauty- I saw HOPE and real JOY ... and it touched me to the core. How does one carry on when they have so little yet still have hope and joy ? When life has dealt them- even at such young ages- more difficulties than I will probably ever have to face in my American Life. It was then that I realized- they came, they walked in shoes too small, sometimes carrying younger siblings because of the hope and joy in Jesus. REAL hope. REAL joy. You see- real hope and real joy do not come from material items. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heave, where mother and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mathew 6: 19-21 Real hope and real joy come from God and God alone.

Those Walmart carts were overflowing with things that many of us thought would bring joy to someone else... and there they sat, cart after cart full, being returned. We missed the point. We had given the things that we all already have anyway- too much stuff- and no where to store it. (Hint: all storage bins go on sale after Christmas for a reason) I began to wondered to myself- had I this Christmas, even once, stopped to share the gift of real hope and joy to anyone? Had I shared Jesus with anyone? Or did I rush through the store, piling things in my cart, trying to give my own kids all the latest things and the coolest toys? Sure we went to church, sure we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas day, and sure we did our daily prayers. But I can't help but shake the feeling that I still clung to the thought that I could 'buy' joy.

As I sat in the pew that day I remember feeling sorry for those children because they didn't possess all the 'things' I do... but I had it all wrong. They sat in their pew singing to Jesus, eager to learn more about their Lord. Their hope and joy had nothing to do with things that money could buy. I pray that I will learn to be just like them- eager to learn more about Jesus and content with what He has given to me.
Lord, please let me have faith like a child.

Today for Sweet 'E'...

Another weekend to face with still no concrete answers for our future... I wonder what you are doing, if you are happy, content? I picture you toddling around in feetie pajama's this morning asking for your milk... I wish more than anything I could be there holding you. I can't see what the future holds- but I rest in the fact that God can. He knows. He cares. And He loves you even more than I can even fathom. As hard as it is to wait... I am thankful that we can both rest in our Saviors arms as He works out every detail of our lives.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Lord, I know that I do not have to fear the 'whatever' or 'whenever' in my live because I trust YOU to determine how the paths of my life and sweet 'E's will shake out. You have ordained our destinations- Your will for our lives is perfect. Help me to be patient and to wait for your perfect timing... for your perfect will. There are lessons to be learned even in this temporary pain- help me to see them and grow from them. Help me to be more like you. I love you Lord. Thank you for letting me rest in you. Please watch over Sweet 'E'.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Years Resolutions

Come on, admit it. We've all tried them… you know, "I’m going to lose 10 lbs, I’m going to eat healthier, exercise more, give up smoking, never say a cuss word again" (You fill in the blank). So, I got to thinking this year about all that I needed to change~ all the things "I” wish were different about me…and then it hit me. What if God has something more in mind for my life than the American Dream? Something better? Something more than squeezing into a size 5 pair of jeans? What if I could actually get to know Jesus even more and I could be increasingly useful to Him here on earth? Are those the changes I really need to be working towards? And what if my focus each morning - not once a year - was on renewing my intimacy with Him and allowing him to change me where He sees need? “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3
Our New Years Resolutions come from our priorities. Do our goals reflect our priorities? And even more importantly, are our priorities in line with our faith? Or do they serve us and only us? In Rick Warren’s best selling book The Purpose-Driven Life, he reminds us that life is not about us. We should not be living simply for ourselves. We are here for a much more significant purpose than that. Are we allowing God's purpose for our lives to be our first priority or are we pursuing our American dream?
Real change - real resolution-comes from inside- a heart change. In order to change I must be willing to turn myself over to the Lord, day by day. I can choose to focus on ME- or I can choose to focus on Him. But I cannot do both. “But seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Lord, I know how blessed I am to arise each morning knowing that joy is mine because of you. My life is a gift that you have provided daily- and I choose to treasure this gift and use it wisely to bring glory and honor to you. Help me to remember that it is not about me… I trust you to determine the purpose of my life. I resign myself to your perfect will.

Will you allow the Lord to use you in 2008? Fully? No holding back? If so, I guarantee 2008 will be the best year of your life.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Miracle of Adoption~ our story

I shared just a few of the families who's adoption stories I know. Today I thought I would share ours.
For me, one the of greatest things about adoption is how you can so clearly see God’s hand working the entire way through the process… to this day I am still amazed and in awe of how God so evidentially orchestrated our entire adoption process and guided us to the children that He had in mind for our family. For each one of us the journey will be different- the country we choose, the age and gender of the child, and the people we meet along the way… but one thing is certain- adoption will touch your heart and change you in ways that you never knew were possible.
Our story started in 2001. We were sitting in church one Sunday, Missions Sunday, and there was a short video about a missionaries work in China. The video skimmed across a cute little Chinese girl who was sitting in the corner of a room and casually mentioned she had been abandoned and was living with the pastor there. It was then, that exact moment, God spoke to my heart. It didn’t make sense of course, here we were- your average family- and we already had four children at home. Why would God choose US to embark on this journey? But one thing I have learned in my life is that God doesn’t always ask those of us who are ‘perfect’ or ‘experienced’ or AT ALL prepared. He asks those of us who have heart for Him and who are willing to obey. We DID NOT have the money sitting there waiting for us in some account… we didn’t know anything at all about adopting… It was a huge risk- a huge leap of faith- but God stretched us and grew us into what he needed along the journey…
That Sunday on the drive home from church I looked at my husband and I asked him if he would ever consider adopting? I quickly rambled on- giving all of my reasons- and admitting that I knew I was probably being silly, that we had four children, but that I just felt a calling today. On and on and on I quickly rambled then Todd looked at me for just a moment and said “yes Amy, lets look into it”.
The days and months flew by as we began to research and pray… at first adopting can be overwhelming, confusing and just plain scary. And unfortunately-at times the comments we received from people were less than positive- but I knew that God didn’t always ask us to choose the ‘popular route’ or to do things that were necessarily EASY. We landed on the India adoption program but God closed that door and 2 years later we got a call that our baby girl from Guatemala had been born. She was small, and sick (only 4 lbs) but she was a fighter. We prayed and prayed as a family and slowly our little girl began to grow stronger. It’s so hard to explain how much you can literally fall in love with a child that you have only seen on paper- but that we did. Honestly, it was absolutely no different than what I felt for our biological children. In July, 2004 we brought home our 6 month old baby girl, Aleigha Grace, from Guatemala. Our entire family has been given such joy in watching each precious phase she goes through and receiving the unconditional love that she shares with each one of us daily. At her age she still has no idea how the love from God and two different women brought her to where she is today… all she knows now is that she is cherished- the way every child deserves to be. We are blessed beyond measure by this precious child of God.
Once again in 2005 the Lord began to speak to our hearts. Once again I came up with every reason why we should not adopt, (almost all financially related of course- gag) and once again God showed us that those ‘reasons’ were not really good reasons at all- and so once again we obeyed. Being our second adoption…the paper chase was much easier… and we just knew this second baby would be just as much of a blessing as our first. We were #3 on the waiting list for a baby girl and couldn’t wait to receive a referral for our precious newborn! Then early one morning I got on my computer and there was an email from an agency that happened to place children out of the same orphanage we were adopting from. As I began to scroll down the email that was titled “Available Children in Guatemala” I saw the many faces of beautiful baby boys and girls and it touched my heart to look at their sweet faces… Then all of a sudden I saw her… a little girl with the biggest smile I had ever seen, eyes that twinkled, and a head full of curls. It hit me- hard. I knew in my heart that I was looking at MY daughter for the very first time. It didn’t make sense to me I admit. This wasn’t the newborn baby girl that I had imagined… she wasn’t wrapped in a blanket with a pink bow in her hair… she was 3 -years -old, she had a full head of unruly curls and a gleam in her eye that told me she had a personality of her own.. How could this be? After a few hours of questioning my sanity and trying to bargain with God himself, I approached my husband with her picture. Yes he thought she was adorable… but he too, I believe, questioned my sanity- and also reminded me that we were not able to accept any referral yet. We needed to wait for our tax return to come so that we had the money to begin the process. It just was not the right time. If only the check was in the mail… Hours passed and still I couldn’t get this little girl out of my head… How would a 4–year-old fit into our family? How would I communicate with her when she spoke Spanish and I English? I wondered about the unknown of her past… Was “I” capable of handling this? But I couldn’t quit thinking about her. The questions kept coming, the doubts and the many, many fears… and then I realized if I, a grown adult was afraid… what must this precious little of girl of just 3 feel? How afraid must she be? She was alone in the world, her birthmother whom she had loved for 3 years had just left her in an orphanage full of strangers and she had no one- nothing- of her own. How could “I” be afraid? I had a home, a husband, and a family who loved me and would support me no matter what. With that thought- I found myself picking up the phone and calling my agency to inquire about the 3- year- old girl whose picture I had seen on the ‘Available Children’s’ list. The agency told me that yes she was in their care but that they thought a family was already considering her- that she would already have a home. When I hung up the phone I just knew there was a mistake, I knew the Lord was telling me something different…. Less than 2 hours later the phone rang- and I was right. The other family decided that she was ‘too old’ that they wanted a little girl who was under 2- and so if we were interested to let them know. Once again, I began to pray and question… I pleaded with the Lord to please let me know if I was doing the right thing- to somehow make it VERY obvious what His plans were for that little girl and for our family. That afternoon my husband came in from getting the mail. He had a funny look on his face… and he asked me to sit down. “The little girl in the picture, he began…” “I think you are right- she was meant to be ours”. You see, the tax return money that we had been waiting for- the one that wasn’t ‘supposed’ to come for weeks- it came. It was in the mailbox that very day. The very day we saw our daughter for the first time- the money came. God did answer my prayer- and he made it very obvious that she was meant to be ours.
The weeks and months passed by and we continued to feel God’s hand upon our adoption process. We were able to go spend 4 days at the orphanage with Mya- learning about her world, her culture and falling in love. We were also able to meet her birthmother and grandmother on our pick up trip- something we will forever cherish.
Mya Sofia has been home for just a little over a year now. For those who say a picture is worth a thousand words- they are so right! She still has a gleam in her eye and a head full of curls. She is funny, creative, sweet, loving and most of all- she fits into our family as if she had been there her whole life. I could not have hand picked a more perfect child and I am in awe still that God allowed ME to be this precious little girls mother. The language barrier that I was so afraid of was not an issue at all. As a matter of fact- she learned complete English in just 3 months time. It has been such an amazing experience for me to see life through her eyes… so many things that we had been taking for granted she has shown us how to appreciate again. Yes, there are days when I look at her and feel sad about what I missed out on… the almost 4 years of her life that I didn’t get to experience. Yet then I think of how close I came to missing out on the rest of her precious life- I am so thankful for the years together we have yet to come…
Last night when I tucked Mya and Aleigha into bed we prayed together, giggled together, hugged and then as I walked from their room I heard them say in unison “we love you mommy to the moon and back”. Now that is what life is all about. We are so blessed by these brave and amazing little girls and so thankful that we stepped out in faith and accepted the blessings God had in mind for our family. We could have let ourselves miss this.
The strangest thing about adoption is the fact that all of your friends and family will tell you that having you as an adoptive parent is such a blessing for the child. That he or she is the lucky one for having you in their life. I can honestly tell you that these people have it all backwards. We are the ones who are truly blessed. We shouldn’t be surprised at this because it is written in God’s word. Matthew 18:5 reads “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me”.
The process of adoption was intimidating at first, but with the help of a good agency it became a journey of discovery for our family. The adoption process is filled with questions, answers, stress, mystery, excitement, joy, and most of all love. It teaches you that you are stronger than you could have ever imagined. It teaches you that life is much sweeter than you could have ever dreamed.
I share our story in hopes that someone will feel a tug at their heart strings for these children waiting for adoption in overseas orphanages. God places these things in our hearts to move us outside our comfort level so we can help HIM make a difference. I hope and pray that people will see these children for what is in their heart and soul, and not look at them for the color of their skin. No, neither Aleigha nor Mya will have my eyes or my nose, but they have all of my heart. I will never take for granted the privilege of being called “mommy” by these sweet, precious girls. We knew going into the adoption process we would have different colors, different countries and different cultures, but we would share the same Lord- and that we believe is more than enough. I know the process can be hard- I was there. I know that it is a huge leap of faith. But I also know that there is nothing else more amazing than the miracle of adoption. I thank GOD that I was led on the path to adopt and I wonder what it will take for each one of these waiting children to be adopted… and have the things we take for granted, such as a family, a home, and hopes and dreams. I wonder what it will take for more people to open their eyes and be willing to obey... to give up some of their 'stuff', some of their free time, all the things the world holds so high- and be willing to love that which God holds closest to His heart...
Thank you God for our miracle of adoption…
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Reunited and it feels so good...

Melanie and Mya were friends at Eagles Nest orphange in Guatemala. As a matter of fact, Mya adored Melanie and looked up to her like a big sister. This past week we were able to meet up with Melanie who is now home with her new family (thank you Ti Ti Jenny)and have a play date at McDonalds! I think both girls were shocked at how much the other had grown (they hadn't seen eachother in a little over a year) but it was so great to be able to spend time together. Melanie has an awesome new family and it was so cool to see her home now and adjusting so well. Once again I am so thankful for the miracle of adoption.

My friend, My hero

I wanted to share with you a very special person in my life- Melissa. Melissa and I have been friends since grade school- she is just one of those people in my life who have always been there. But I realized something this last week- sometimes we take for granted that our family and friends will always just 'be there' and unfortunately that is not how life always works. Melissa is 38 years old and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She has a husband and 2 precious girls- and she was told a couple of weeks ago that her journey is about to end. Last week when I went home for Christmas, I went to visit Melissa and had to say good-bye for the last time. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life- but also something that I am so blessed by. Melissa and I spent almost 2 hours talking- remembering, and just cherishing our last time together. I have so many memories in my life that include Melissa- and I am a better person because I knew her. She is an inspiration to everyone who meets her. Melissa has faced this disease with a positive attitude and with more courage than I could ever image. I love her so much and I thank God for every second that I have had with her. Melissa will leave behind a family who will never quite be the same without her... please pray for all of them as they face one of the hardest things in life.
Dear father, help us to never take a moment of our life for granted... let us remember that every second of life we are given is precious. I thank you for Melissa and for her example of courage and strength. Please give her family peace in knowing that you alone are in control of everything and that you will never leave them. I know that because you are taking Melissa home with you at such a young age you must have an important plan in heaven for her... "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." Matthew 25:21

Christmas Memories 2007


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ear plugs anyone???

In case you have a prayer to spare...
This will be what I look at in the back of my car ALL DAY tomorrow. I know, they are cute aren't they? But still- they can get LOUD, trust me. Praise God for the DVD player. But if you are sitting at your computer and all is silent around you- pray for me ok? Whoever said "the road to a friends house is never long"... has never driven packed into one vehicle with six kids!!!! Happy travels!


Some say having a birthday around Christmas is a no fun~ but ask my 4 -year -old and she will tell you that she loves it! Most years we celebrate with a 'birthday tree' (just adding balloons and streamers to the Christmas tree) but this year... this year she got to open her birthday presents EARLY and to a 4- year- old there is NOTHING sweeter! :0) Due to Christmas plans we had to celebrate Aleigha's birthday today instead of tomorrow. She'll spend her birthday in the car traveling- but for today she was a princess ( 'yellow' kitty cat cake included) and tomorrow on her real birthday she gets to pick where we eat, who she sits next to in the car, and what movie we watch first. She's happy to say the least. HAPPY 4th Birthday my sweet baby girl. May your life always be filled with love and surrounded by grace. I love you always.

In light of all the Christmas stress...

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
while visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads.
The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
with a half-constructed bicycle on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
which made her sigh, "Now what's the matter?"
With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
she descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug.
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug!
""HO-HO-HO!" cried Santa, "I'm glad youʼre awake.
""Your gift was especially difficult to make.""
Thanks, Santa, but all I want is some time alone.
""Exactly!" he chuckled, "I've made you a clone.
""A clone?" she asked, "What good is that?
"Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit-chat.
"The motherʼs twin. Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.
"She'll cook, she'll dust," she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, watch The Young and the Restless.
""Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream come true!"
I'll shop. I'll read, I'll sleep the whole night through!"
From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
"Mommy?! I scared...and I'm wet.
"The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart.
""Hey," the mom smiled, "She knows her part.
"The clone changed the small one, and hummed a tune,
as she bundled the child, in a blanket cacoon.
"You're the best mommy ever. "I really love you.
"The clone smiled and sighed, "I love you, too."
The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal.
"That's my childʼs love, she's trying to steal.
"Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it's clear,
"Only one loving mother, is needed here.
"The mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.
"Thank you, Santa, for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
when they'll be to old, for my cradle-song.
"The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time,
"With the clone by his side Santa said,"Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, Mom, you'll be all right.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy 11th Birthday Kallan!!!

Happy 11th Birthday Kallan! You came into our lives 11 years ago today and brought us more joy than we could have ever imagined. I am so blessed to be your mom! Thank you for making each day of the past 11 years just a little more special because you are in my life. I will always believe in you I know that whatever you choose to do with your life, I know you will do it with all of your heart. Remember, your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God. I love you my precious son and I couldn't be more proud! Love, Mom

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lessons from a $2.00 pair of skates

While we try to teach our children about life- they teach us what life is all about. “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Matthew 20:33

Now those of you who know me, know I love garage sales… and I love a bargain. So when I saw Mya looking at a blue and pink pair of roller skates with a wishful look in her eye- I could not help but to bring them home. I had no idea that the lesson that those $2.00 skates would teach us would be priceless.

As I sat on the porch one afternoon watching Mya fall over and over on her skates-then get back up again-I realized there had been so many times in my life when I had not had the courage when knocked over… to get back up again… get back up again. A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. “Proverbs 24:16 RSV

Then God taught me a lesson.

The first thing that came to me was the old saying “One mans trash is another mans treasure"... Sometimes, what one person does not cherish or have any use for anymore- can come in the form of a shirt, a pair of roller skates… or a life. How many times in my life had I not seen the treasure within another human? How many times had I ‘looked the other way’ or viewed someone as ‘useless’ or ‘in my way’?

Lord, you truly love all of us the same, regardless of the color of our skin, our bank account, or our age. As you walked on this earth-the leper, the prostitute, and the child, all found a welcome place in your heart...

God was not yet done.

Mya came to us at age 4 with scars because someone viewed her as being 'useless' and 'in the way'. Some of the scars are deep, deep inside-hidden. Some of them are visible to the human eye. But one thing I have learned from my spunky, smart, beautiful baby is when you choose forgiveness it allows God to work in your life and therefore- in the lives of others. In our weakness –God is strong. You see, Mya has chosen not to look at her past- her scars- in a ‘poor me’ kind of light, but to see them for what they really are-a gift from God- and to get back up again.

It is not whether you get knocked down- it’s whether you get back up again….

ALL OF US have been knocked down at one time or another. Sometimes our scars are only on the surface- and sometimes they are buried deep inside. But from our scars comes the chance of healing and personal growth. Growth WILL come IF we allow God the freedom to work out every detail in our lives- the past, the present, and the future- in a way that will honor HIM.
You see, God gave Mya- from her past, the unique mark on her life that allows HIM to bless others with hope, encouragement and inspiration- because she allows it.

God forgive us for the times when we have tried to hide ourselves from you and put on a pretense to others around us that all is perfect in our lives.

I’m the first to admit, I do not like suffering -and I do not like my scars being visible… sometimes I try to bury them inside and pretend that everything is ok… I try to fix things by myself- instead of seeking God first. “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30. The more of HIM I see, the less there is of me.

When we allow God, he will prepare us -so that when he brings to us someone who is broken hearted, struggling, or lonely- we can say “I know what you are going through… God has not forgotten you”. “Praise be to the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today I am thankful that through this precious child-, my 4 year old with scars deeper than most of us could ever understand, I learned how to have the courage to get back up again. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12”9

Lord, help us to live our lives seeing the ‘value’ in things that the world views as worthless. Let us love the unlovable and see the treasures around us through your eyes. Let us not put the things the world holds of value over the things that you hold dearest to your heart. Lord take the broken pieces of our lives- the hurts, the disappointments and the failures and make them usable for you. Let your beauty and worth be seen in our scars- in us- because we know in your eyes nothing is ever wasted… not even a blue and pink pair of roller-skates.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who's really at the door? (in the eyes of a 3- year- old)

Aleigha- "MOM- the PMS man is at the door!"
Me- "HUH???"
Aleigha- "you know, the man that leaves the boxes."
Me- (trying not to laugh) "that's the UPS man Aleigha."
Aleigha- "Yeah, him."

Miracle of Adoption Family (5)

Introducing- the "S" family! Aren't they amazing? I can't but smile when I see all 4 of those little girls together. Pictured are (L to R) Doreen's mother, Neyvada, Gabi, Doreen, Matteya, and Bella. (all 4 adopted from Guatemala). Doreen and I met also via the internet while she was bringing home her 2nd daugher, Bella. Bella and Aleigha were also 'crib mates' at the orphanage and Doreen and I became fast friends. Actually I think everyone who meets Doreen becomes her friend because that is just the kind of person she is. Seriously, she is one of the most, giving, non judging, unselfish people I have ever meet. She sees someone in need and doesn't think twice. She dives in with her heart and meets the need. "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:9) There are so many things I love about this family- but one thing that stands out to me is how Doreen is one of those adoptive mommies that gives back to the country which her girls came from. She incorporates so much of the Guatemalan culture into their daily life - but she also goes beyond and above to give back to the people of Guatemala. God has blessed her abundantly with these 4 beautiful Guatemalan princesses and because of God's graciousness- and her heart for God -she gives back. "God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you... may provide in abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8. RSV)
Doreen's first adoption was Gabi, with her big brown eyes and curly hair and sweet disposition. 9 months later her biological sister, Bella was born and Doreen and Frank were blessed again by this spunky, smart, beautiful little girl. Again 2 years later after a long journey, they brought home Matteya at 7 months old. As you can see she is the 'baby', beautiful, and smart enough to keep up with her big sisters! But God wasn't done and this last October, Neyvada (age 3), was escorted into the arms and hearts of her forever family. There could not be a better fit. God was faithful. It is such a blessing for Doreen to be surrounded by these precious girls. She has told me it was so important to her that these girls have that special 'sister bond' because Doreen herself, lost her sister years ago.
Lord, I thank you for Doreen and her friendship. I have done nothing to deserve it and yet you bless me anyway. Thank you for the lessons I have learned from her- for her ability to reach out and bless the people you hold so close to your heart. Thank you for her example of a servants spirit, always giving, always serving and always honoring you heavenly father... when it is done for you, that is what really counts. "Be he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matthew 23:11 KJV)

Magic Reindeer food

One or our favorite Christmas Eve traditions is leaving cookies and milk out for Santa - and then going outside in the cool night air and sprinkling Magic Reindeer food all over the lawn. My kids are convinced that if the reindeer can see the glittery path they will not miss their house. In case you'd like to join in on the fun thought we'd share the recipe with you.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup dried oats, 2 tbls glitter
"Be sure to take this magic food and sprinkle on the lawn.
On Christmas, Santa's reindeer travel miles before the dawn.
The smell of oats and glitter path will guide them on their way.
And you'll wake up to Santa's gifts next morn on Christmas Day!"

True Meaning of Christmas

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out next to the fireplace.
"What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement . . ."TEACH THE CHILDREN!" I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the children!Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten. "Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. "Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven."
He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. "Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise."
He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. "Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness."
Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection."
He then pulled from his bag an ORNAMENT of himself. "Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December."
He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. "Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.
Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, "Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son." Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."
He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. "Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."
Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL,. "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.
Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship him, our LORD, our GOD."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Miracle of Adoption Family (4)

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to the ‘almost famous’ Angel (another one of my mission team buddies). Angel is also a friend I had the privilege of meeting via the internet. Actually I ‘knew’ her before she even know I existed. But Angel has been a big inspiration in my life- she was the one of the biggest reasons I had the courage to step out in faith and adopt an ‘almost’ 4 year old. Angel and her husband Russ have one, as Angel puts it ‘homegrown’ daughter, Kaitlyn- who is 4 years old. Yet they knew their family was not complete and two years ago Angel and Russ began their adoption journey to bring home an infant daughter from Guatemala… but God had a different plan… and instead, while he DID bring them a daughter from Guatemala- she was ‘almost’ 8 years old. They could not be more blessed. Angel’s story of bringing Zoe home is one of faith, courage and adventure. “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” Angel has taught me to step out of the box and not be afraid of what God has called me to do… “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Mathew 20:26). She has taught me to trust- and how to really be God’s hands and feet. I love this family and I thank God daily that He brought an ‘angel’ into my life when I needed her most.
But the story does not stop there… today, Angel, Russ, Kaitlyn and Zoe are adding to their family again through the miracle of adoption- Miss Kaiya Rain from China. Kaiya will be 2 years old in May and Angel ‘stumbled’ across her picture on a waiting child’s list. “And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah6:8) Again I am positive God had not brought forth a family so far- for as always, he knew who the perfect family for her would be. Kaiya was born with a cleft lip and palate. She has been waiting in the orphanage since she was 2 ½ months old for her new family to find her. This child is a beautiful blessing and a reminder to us all that He desires only good for our lives. “A faithful man will abound with blessings”. (Proverbs 28:20)

Lord, thank you for sending friendships into our lives at just the moment we need them. Thank you for those who are willing to follow you at all cost and obey you even when it means stepping out in blind faith. Thank you for the gift of adoption- no matter what age, race, or special need they may have. Thank you for letting us see they are ‘perfect’ in you. Thank you for Angel and her example of how she chooses to live in such a way that puts your name in neon lights and your desires above all others. Make all of our lives count and our actions and words honor you.

Miracle of Adoption Family (3)

And next in line is the "T" family. Debbie and I become friends via the internet on an adoption forum while I was in process with Aleigha's adoption. Debbie was so patient and kind and because of her heart for adoption mentored many families- taking the time to answer questions and always a word of encouragement. The adoption journey is not for the faint of heart and just having someone there who has 'been there' was such a blessing to me. Over these past 4 years Debbie and I have become good friends and she was one of the ladies who spent a week with me last November in Guatemala at the orphange. It was one of the most amazing experience in my life- and having Debbie by my side made it all the more special. It was dream we both shared and I couldn't have asked for a more precious person to experience this trip with me.

Debbie and her husband John were blessed with 3 biological sons and their life was good. But in December, 1998, Debbie's mom- Joyace Ann-whom was not only her mother, but her best friend as well, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She lost the battle on May, 24, 2000, leaving behind a family who adored her. Soon after she died, Debbie 'ran across' a magazine article on international adoption and knew without a doubt that God was speaking right to her. Through her grief, God was showing her how she could continue the relationship she and her mom had shared~ but with her own daughter ... which He led her too in Guatemala. Anna Joyace (named after Debbie's mom) was place in Debbie's arms at the age of 6 months through the miracle of adoption. She is a beautiful, spunky, child of God- who wears a crown in her family and is doted on by her 3 big, handsome brothers.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Lord, everything we have is yours and yours alone... you give and take away... we may not always understand yours ways but we trust in you and rest in you... and like a child-we reach for your hand and walk by faith and not by sight. Thank you for loving us, for picking us up and putting us back on course when we become weary and loose our way. Hold our hearts in your hand. Thank you for those who come into our lives and touch us and change us... if even only for a short time.