Saturday, May 31, 2008

The 143,000,000

Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it... but I am afraid God might ask me the same question. Anonymous

Some days I wake up full of energy and ready to take on the world. Other days, well, other days I let the reality set in and I am overwhelmed when I think of the task at hand. And yet God knows- He knows it all. He cares for the 143,000,000, loves each and every one of them and knows them by name. 9 years ago when I gave my life to Christ the person I was, the things I cared about changed drastically. From that moment on, the things that broke God's heart, also broke mine. I will never, ever, be ok knowing that there are 143,000,000 orphans in the world today. I will never turn my back and pretend they do not exist as I go on about my day. On July 11, 2004 my life was forever changed when God placed one of the orphans He loved in my arms-the day Aleigha Grace became my daughter. I don't have the answers- 143,000,000 is more than my mind can even comprehend. And yet I will never give up. God calls each one of us to take care of the orphans and widows... did you hear Him?

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed... nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The $8.00 Hot dog

Some of you may have seen this already... but I feel like it's worth repeating. I try as hard as I can to be careful with the money we spend- but watching this makes me wonder if there is even more I could do to be a better steward with God's money.

"...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

I'm BACK!!!

Back- but still trying to get back on schedule. (We thrive on schedules around here!) We had a wonderful time in Illinois! It is always so wonderful to get to spend time with my family. I love them all so much and it's so hard to live so far from them. I finally got to meet my new nephew Mario! (I'm telling you the kid is AMAZING!) He is so smart and super sweet- what a blessing. I am so proud of my sister Jenny too- she is a rockin mommy! Mario and Kaden also got to spend some time together getting to know each other! I got to spend time with my parents. My mom tucked me into bed and made me vegetables for dinner just like old times. Love you mom and dad- you are the BEST! I loved just hanging out with my sisters! Here we are posing- always in birth order :0)And I got to watch my beautiful niece Tyler graduate from High School! Way to go Tyler!!! I'm proud of you!
The flight home was a bit long and rough but Kaden was a trooper. It was so good to come home to my sweet family. (and my awesome husband even kept the house clean!) It's always fun to go- but coming home to those who love you most of all is the very best thing in this world. :0)

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're outta here!

Kaden and I are leaving at 4:30 a.m tomorrow morning to fly to Illinois to see my awesome niece Tyler graduate from High School! (I'm so proud of you Tyler!!) This will be the first time for Kaden to meet his grandma and grandpa, his aunt and uncles and his cousins! AND the first time I will get to meet my new nephew Mario! I AM SO EXCITED!!! Hope everyone has a wonderful, long weekend!
To my sweet, wonderful husband- I know you will do great with the other kids at home. Thank you for doing this for me! I LOVE YOU!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When bad things happen to good people

Perhaps the most often asked question on earth is this: Why do bad things happen to good people?
The past couple of months my heart has been breaking for my sweet cousin Phil who’s precious infant son, David, is quickly loosing his battle with cancer. Today I heard about the horrible tragedy of Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman’s 5 -year -old adopted daughter Maria’s death. While trying to make sense out of this - I find myself once again on my knees praying and asking God WHY? Why do bad things happen to good people?
More than anything when things like this occur in life, we want a concrete answer to this question. We want something to grasp onto – something to make sense. Somewhere in life, we want our head and our heart to come to a place where the questions that never fade- find the answers that never fail. These answers I believe are in the bible.

We are humans- we live and we die. We live in a world filled with good and bad. God didn’t promise us we’d have a life contrary to the world we live in. He didn’t promise there would be no pain, or sorrow- or death. He didn’t promise we would be sheltered from the world we live in. But God did promise to be there for us- to give us peace and comfort- even when the world tells us there is none.
Yet He didn’t stop there- God provided us a way out. He created an eternal paradise- a place of eternal glory where there will be no more crying, pain, sickness, or death. A place where people will share His joy forever. God created heaven for us. (Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of thins has passed away.”)

You see, we were created for eternity, and tragedy can never change that. We may not fully understand how this can be when we are broken into pieces and in pain, but our lack of understanding does not change or destroy the truth. Before we were born God knew exactly how long we would live and how we would die. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” The psalmist said to God in Psalms 139:16. This remains true whether those days are many or few.

Over the years I've learned that you can't be fooled by the smile on someones face. Everybody has a story that includes pain and suffering. Behind each smiling face you will discover a story of pain, difficulty, heartache, and many unanswered questions. Not that people aren't happy--they are--or at least most of us are. But no one gets a free ride through life. No one makes it through life without scars. It doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, famous or a hermit. If you live long enough, you will know pain. You will know what it feels like to have your heart broken into pieces. If you live long enough, you will brush the tears away as death comes to your door. We live in a world filled with pain, suffering and death.

Often our first mistake is to believe that trials will never come our way- and because of that- be unprepared for them. Even Jesus suffered trials- and Jesus promised us trials as well. (John 16:33). Yet Because our God is all knowing, He knew when these tragedy’s came we would come to Him asking. So in Proverbs 3:5-6 he tells us to- "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Yet not only is God all knowing- He understands. He’s been there, done that. He’s experienced pain himself- He gets it. "For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He too has experienced loss- He knows what death feels like- he gave his son for US.

In this lifetime, we will experience youth, but we will also experience aging.
We will experience gains, but we will also experience losses.
We will experience pleasure, but we will also experience pain.
We will experience health, but we will also experience sickness.
We will experience life, but we will also experience death.
My prayer for myself and for you is that you truly live in this life time you have been given. May you live each of your days- making them count.

Lord, help us to remember that each day we are given is a gift. Help us to remember to really live. I lift up Maria Chapman and David Weber to you Lord. While I may not ever completely understand why Lord, I completely trust you. I know you are a loving God and that you love Maria and David more than we can possibly ever comprehend. Hold their families Lord- give them the comfort and peace only you can give. Thank you Lord for these precious children-because of their times on this earth the world is a better place.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).

Once there was a boy who loved ice cream...


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More lessons in life

I stand corrected.
I was wrong.
Well, I was looking at it all wrong anyway...
I so desire to look at things through Christ's eyes- and instead, often times I find myself being so cynical, so depleted, that I get angry. I get tired. I want change- and once again, I forget that it has to start with ME. My attitude. My growth. My heart. My being willing to love- no matter how hard that is at times.

Today I read this: (Thank you Barbara for this lesson I needed to hear)

How do I get the world to care?

Sometimes, I think of how others have done it.
Mr. King did it by inspiring people with words, and empowering them to act.
Mother Theresa did it by serving the neediest people around her with love.
Mahatma Ghandi did it by giving people the tools needed for non-violent resistance.
The Dalai Lama does it by speaking the truth in all his gentleness.
Mister Rogers did it by talking and listening and encouraging and validating.
My mom did it by telling us it is okay to be different and showing us that each person matters by telling stories of the kids in her classroom and how she met their individual needs.
My friend Mike does it by living his life as an example of sustainability, being involved in building his community to be greener and doing research on organic farming.
My friend Maggie does it by teaching one family at a time how to help their autistic child.
My sister-in-law does it by asking doctors to justify the treatment they are prescribing.
My niece does it by inviting friends and family to join in on a project to celebrate her birthday.
My brother does it by creating paintings he posts on his website with a link to information about what inspired the painting.
Sinead O'Connor does it by writing heartfelt songs and putting them out there in the world.
Jesus did it by accepting people just as they are, in whatever place they happen to be, and inviting them to be free.

I think people don't need to be coerced into caring. I believe human beings are born caring, are inherently caring. I believe that when people act (or appear to act) as if they don't care about others' suffering, it is generally because they themselves are suffering. There are huge amounts of human suffering that cannot be seen by neighbors and friends and coworkers and even family members.

Not caring is a learned strategy for coping with powerlessness.

In order for people to act to alleviate the suffering of others, they need to feel as if their actions actually would make a difference. They need to feel empowered to help. Most people in our culture have learned to discount their own power in order to survive. If a person does not feel that she matters on this planet, it is pretty hard to believe that anyone matters.

I honor you for wanting to make positive change in the world. I honor you for seeing what could be done if everyone were aware the way you are. I honor you for knowing you have the power to aid those in need. I ask you to consider what assumptions you are making about people when you label them as not caring. I wonder if there is any way for you to love them just they way they are, and accept them in whatever place they are. As if they mattered just as much on this earth as the widows and orphans. I know, compared to lots of people in the world, your neighbors and friends have it made. They have it made. But, do they know they have it made? Do they feel as if they matter in this world? I think most people are struggling, even those who are apparently "rich." Struggling to find meaning and happiness.

You can't get them to care. You can only care about them.

But why should you, when there are all these widows and orphans who need care?

Because they matter. Each and every one of them. When I think of all those people I most admire for being able to inspire people to act in the interest of those in need, I see one pattern: they are fully present with the person right in front of them, loving them in whatever way this one person needs to be loved.

Mister Rogers says look for the helpers. So when I am feeling hopeless about my power, or about the possibility that others will use their power for good, I spend a little time reading his words. And looking for stories about people doing the helping work. I Do One Thing. I find One Thing to do that will help raise awareness about how easy it is to effect positive change.

Have a wonderful day,
Barbara Walker

"We the people, we're the powers that be." -Jeb Puryear

“Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.” -Wendell Berry

Monday, May 19, 2008


I want to ask you a question- and I want you to be honest with me here. No one else will know what you are thinking- so just answer the question honestly.
What is the first thing you think of when you think of African America people?
What is the first thing you think of when you think of Hispanic people?
How about Muslims?
Over weight people?
Poor people receiving public aid?
Just one word- the first word that comes to your head… what came to mind? Now I once again want you to be honest with yourself and tell me- are you part of the problem?

As a mother of a black son- I have grown to see racism in a whole new light. I should have recognized this before, but honestly, I’m embarrassed to say that I am white- and well, I didn’t really have to. Even with Aleigha and Mya being Hispanic we often ‘stood out’- but this is a whole new concept with Kaden. And, I am going to dare to step out and there say it’s because he’s BLACK. As a matter of fact- Kadens caseworker flat out told us ‘If you are willing to take a black child then you will get a child VERY quickly because most people will not’. I knew right then and there that is what we would choose. A black child. The need is the call. In God’s eyes we are all equal.

I will be honest and tell you that I was raised in a pretty much all white town (although my best friend growing up was half Philippine). I have always lived in predominately white areas and that is all I have pretty much ever known. So when Kaden first came to us- we set out to educate our family. I did not want to try to turn my black son into a white child- I wanted to turn our white/Hispanic/black family into a beautiful multicultural family that loves and celebrates all ethnicity- just like Jesus does. This has turned out to be unbelievably easy for us inside our own little family. So easy- that sometimes I forget that our little family is not normal. I forget, that is- until I see the ugly hatred rear it’s head in the eyes of prejudice- and my heart breaks for what my son will once day face. For you see, I have come to find out that white people love ethnic diversity-but only as it relates to restaurants.

‘Sometimes' from strangers I do get smiles of encouragement and comments of “oh he’s so cute.” Yet I am also very much aware that one day those same people will be locking their car doors in a parking lots as my son walks by. I am aware that while many might think that Kaden is a nice boy- he will not be allowed to even look at their white daughter when he comes of dating age. Even sadder yet- in 2004, the median family income of blacks ages 30 to 39 was only 58 percent that of white families ($35,000 for blacks compared to $60,000 for whites). And, according to the Bureau of Justice of Statistics, by the end of 2005 there were 3,145 black male prison inmates per 100,000 in the United States compared to 471 white male inmates per 100,000. One study done in Philadelphia even showed blacks had a 38% higher chance of getting the death penalty than whites. This shows an obvious discrimination problem, because the murders the whites committed were no less severe than that of the blacks. Plus, the fact that there are very few black District Attorneys does not help matters. The majority of District Attorneys that assist in convicting these black men to death are white.

I have also found that often times you get people who claim there is no difference between races- they claim there could not possibly be this problem. Why? Not only because they can’t see beyond their own prejudice- but because they think things are fine the way they are. They don’t want to change. They are happy and comfortable. It doesn’t matter if other people are or not. They think it's always been this way and always will...

For me that is no longer ok. I can no longer ignore the problem.

For me, I am aware now in ways I have never been before…

I know good and bad people, smart and stupid people, generous and mean people, beautiful and ugly people- and believe me, it has nothing to do with their color.

My goal, as a parent, is to teach my children that they–like everyone else born on this planet, regardless of their color – are special and have a role to play, that no one else can play. They may be smart–but there will always be someone smarter. They may be attractive–but there will always be someone more beautiful. They may be athletic–but there will always be someone else who is faster or stronger. Because of this, they must simply try to be the best person they can be and then celebrate whoever that is. Along they way, they must allow others that same privilege- treat others with the same respect no matter who they are or what they look like.

Today I will hug my son just a little bit tighter, knowing that while he is the exact same as the rest of us- his dark skin will always make people feel they have the right to think less of him. Why is that and how can I make that change? Would you help me? From today on will you begin to look a little bit deeper than skin deep? Whether you are black, white, or green with purple polka dots- and whether the other person is the same or not- will you look past that? Look into their heart instead- you might just like what you see. Jesus did.

“and I will make them ONE NATION in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and ONE KING shall be KING over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again” Ezekiel 37:22

Friday, May 16, 2008

Middle school dance

Tonight was Addisyn’s turn- the middle school dance. Once again, the memories (or should I say nightmares) start flooding back. I almost break into a sweat as I let myself go back in time…sitting in my room, wondering if I am going to be wearing the same thing everyone else does (God forbid you stand out and be different in 6th grade!) and calling each one of my friends at least 15 times just to make sure. Then my mind would shift and I would start to worryand wonder if any boys would ask me to dance... or if I even want them to? Oh those were the days… Addisyn looked so cute in her green and brown dress and we spent an hour on her hair. I think the end results were pretty darn cute.
But honestly, she didn’t have to worry a bit about any boys asking HER to dance...

Because with brothers like this- they wouldn't stand a chance anyway! Have fun tonight Addie- and don’t look over your shoulder- your brothers will be watching!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Deepest Fear

~Marianne Williamson

Lord, so many times I hear you and more often then not, I doubt myself… therefore doubting you. Please forgive me. I cannot possibly understand how it could be ME that you speak to. Me, the sinner, the one who daily makes mistakes, who daily gets it wrong. And yet you do Lord-you call me, you love me. Who I am? I am a child of God- I live in your strength- therefore I no longer need to doubt my ability, my strength- I live in yours. Through you I do not need to be afraid. Because of you I can ignore the ugly whispers of the world and truly live for you… and then sit back and watch your glory. I love you Lord, I love being a Christian- for in you I have finally found true peace and real happiness.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You know your an adoptive mother when...

This went around awhile ago, but it was brought to my attention again today so I thought I'd share!

You know you are an adoptive mother (or you should be!) if:
1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has ever made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child, there would be no orphans in the world is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about your adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth (2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken a airplane ride half way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacy's you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have them in your life.
13. You know what the word Dossier means and you can actually pronounce it!
14. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
15. You know full well that the journey of your child coming into your family is one of the most wonderful, miraculous things that has ever happened to you.

The joys of Mother's Day

I hope you all had a great Mother's Day yesterday. My kids went all out and we had so much fun. First we went to church together- and we had Kaden dedicated. He was so adorable in his little plaid shorts and he was very proud of his new baby blue bible. In the afternoon we planted flowers together and the kids helped me stain the picnic table Keegan made for me at school. For dinner-we had a very special treat. The kids planned a 'date' for Todd and I. They set up the table (aka coffee table) made up a menu we could choose from and made our dinner reservations for two. Kallan was our waiter and Addisyn and Keegan were the chefs. It was so much fun and such a treat to be waited on (as we watched the season finale of Survivor). Thank you my amazing kids for treating me to a special Mother's Day treat. Being your mother is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I love you all!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Surgery sorrows

Last Thursday Todd had surgery on his knee. While reffing he tore up his knee and it required surgery. Poor guy... but notice he is still hard at work on the couch while recovering! That's my guy- always working hard for his family. Love you honey- get better quick! (Love that farmers tan by the way!)

Kaden's room

We finally finished Kaden's room- it's so cute and so blue and brown. I love it. Now, if only we could get the child to sleep in it!


Tonight was prom night at our High School. The first prom Travis has ever gone to and the first prom for us to experience as parents. (I'll tell you that it's a lot more fun being the kid going then the parent at home worrying!) Travis and his girlfriend Cayley looked so adorable and bless their hearts- they put up with me armed with CAMERA! We had our own little photo session here at home (hey with the cost of prom now-a-days we can atleast forgo the pictures at the prom and do our own!) Praying for a safe, fun night for all!