Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thought for the day...

"Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion! "
~Mark BattersonBook: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Monday, July 28, 2008

This and that

One of my favorite things about raising kids is that everything in life is new and exciting! The days of summer are flying by but are such a blessing and a privilege to watch as my beautiful children become confident, independent and learn about the world around them. Here are some random shots of a few of the things we have been up to lately...
Mya learning how to ride her bike without training wheels!!!
Aleigha, Kallan and Mya proud of the zucchini, cucumbers, tomato's and okra they grew in their garden! Aleigha learning how to swim without floaties!
Aleigha and Mya checking out their new chickens. Fresh eggs anyone?
Mya doing her best impersonation of a chicken. Too funny!
Kaden-just being cute and trying to figure out how in the world he got into this crazy family. And can I just tell you that I AM crazy about this kids lips! Hee/Hee SO SWEET!

I will remember...

Friday, July 25, 2008

HIV Life Expectancy

Came across this article today on HIV and had to share! Encouraging news for those effected by this disease.

HIV-Infected Patients' Life Expectancy Increased by 13 Years
By Chantal Britt

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- HIV-infected patients in North America and Europe are living at least 13 years longer on average as a result of combination drug therapies introduced in the mid-1990s, according to a study in the journal Lancet.
A 20-year-old patient taking the drugs in 2005 could expect to live to 69.4 years of age, said researchers led by Robert Hogg of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver. When this type of therapy began in 1996, a 20- year-old could only expect to live to 56.1 years, the research concluded.
The data, gleaned from 14 studies, was released in advance of the world's largest biennial meeting on AIDS research, scheduled to begin Aug. 3 in Mexico City. The sooner patients received combination treatments after diagnosis, the longer they lived, The Lancet report said.
``These figures are startling and will surely help clinicians raise the hopes and expectations of patients,'' said David Cooper from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, in a commentary accompanying the study.
In 1996, researchers began combining use of three existing families of drugs that fought the disease in different ways in order to reduce the virus's ability to mutate and survive in the body. Before the new therapies were introduced, patients often developed lasting resistance to individual drugs.
About 33 million people were living with HIV last year and 2.1 million people died from the illness. The goal of HIV therapy is to reduce blood levels of the virus as low as possible for as long as possible to slow the disease's progress.

Later Treatment
The Lancet report also said that patients treated later in their infection throughout the study had an average total life expectancy of 52.4 years, compared with 70.4 years among patients treated earlier in their disease. Women with HIV had longer life expectancies than men, which may be because they generally start treatment earlier, the researchers said.
Hogg's work looked at 43,355 HIV-infected patients, of whom 2,056 had died. Hogg worked as part of the Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration, which included researchers in Canada, the U.K., France, Switzerland, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Europe's largest drugmaker, and the U.K. Medical Research Council sponsored Hogg's paper.
These advances in treatment have transformed HIV from being a fatal disease, which was the reality for patients before the advent of combination treatment, into a long-term chronic condition,'' Hogg said in the study.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please join me in prayer...

I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and I am asking for your help today in praying for these precious children. My heart is heavy for these families and I know your prayers would mean the world to them.

This is Andrew. Andrew is the son of a good friend of mine from church, Brandy. Andrew is 7 years old and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (B-Cell) just last week.

Update on Abby:
After day 8 of treatment- bone marrow aspiration, spinal tap, chemo-Abby still has 6% leukemia in her bone marrow . She has significant problems with her liver that they are trying to figure out. It is a serious complication. They are bringing a specialist on board to help decide what is wrong, and what to do.

My friend Carolyn is in Ethiopia right now getting her new daughter Selah Yordanos- known to many as 'Yordi'. (Picture below was taken last year in Ethiopia when Carolyn and her husband first met Yordi). Yordi's HIV has progressed into AIDS and her health is rapidly declining. She is having a rough time keeping her medication down and weighs only 32 lbs at age 10.

Lord, I lift these beautiful children and their families up to you and ask that you heal them completely. I pray for peace and comfort that only you can give for all of those touched by these situations. I ask that you be with these families in the days ahead and that you go before them and pave the roads they must walk. Father I know that you love these children more than we could ever image and that you have promised to never leave them or forsake them. I pray that you make your presence known in every situation, every detail, every breath they take. I pray that they are free of pain and free of fear -resting only in you. I thank you father for each one of their precious lives and thank you for their example of strength and courage. In Jesus name we pray- Amen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Reality

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.
~ Mother Teresa ~

It's not about me

I was talking the other day with a group of people about the parable of the Good Samaritan. We were discussing how we as Christians should respond when someone has a need. Ever driven down the street and seen someone holding a cardboard sign that says “Will work for Food” and you just kept on driving? I have found that in speaking with people on this subject, they often either want to do something but do not out of fear of being hurt or don’t because they fear being taken advantage of. We have all heard the stories- someone got hurt trying to be a good Samaritan and now none of us want to reach out and help anyone else in need because what if that individual really didn’t need our help? … what if they were just scamming us and had more money than we all had put together? Yet what if they didn’t? What if we just drove by Jesus in disguise and did NOTHING because we have become so cynical?

Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing.

I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter if they are scamming me or not. When Jesus looks at me reaching out to someone He never thinks of me as "being a fool" for letting myself be scammed- He looks right into my heart and that is the only thing that matters to Him. I don’t ever want to go back to that cynical attitude where ‘I” am the only one that matters. Where I am not even able to help my neighbors out of fear of being hurt or taken advantage of. I am not interested in living for ME any longer. Been there, done that- doesn’t work. I was left feeling lonely, discouraged, worthless, desperate, and lost. I am ready to move on and like this blog http://poulsenstochina.blogspot.com/ -escape from the kingdom of me. Read the post below- this is a girl who ‘gets it’.

"We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home." excerpt from TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS by Jamie Tworkowski

I am part of a team at my church putting together a back to school ministry to help local families get their kids ready with needed supplies. I asked someone on Sunday if they would like to help out that night. The response was a concern for how we monitor these families to make sure they don't take from us and from other community outreaches offering supplies, you know how do we keep them from taking advantage of us. I simply smiled and said, we don't. We welcome them, we talk to them, we offer to meet a need, we share the love of Christ and the plan of salvation with the whole family. The point is that there are people all over this world that are feeling isolated and depressed, unworthy and disposable, unloved and invisible. Does it really serve any purpose to constantly worry about someone getting the better of us? Shouldn't everyone be getting the better of us? In reading through the sites linked to the article I found this quote from Blue Like Jazz written by Donald Miller. I read this book several months ago and missed this incredible statement:
"The human struggle bothered Rick, as if something was broken in the world and we were supposed to hold our palms against the wound."
I am thinking that most of the time we are so blinded by the daily routine that we can't even see the wounds. This is where I am at, I am beginning to see the wounds in such a way that I can no longer forget, in a way that I can no longer sit on my hands when I should be pressing them against the wound. This is so not easy though because I am full of fear and hesitation.My journey will begin by not overlooking the simple things. There are so many simple and practical ways to "do something." We overlook them because we think $25 doesn't make a difference. We really don't believe that that through a simple gift, the unwavering faith, of a CHILD, Jesus took 5 loaves and 2 fish and fed thousands of people.

I have not written any of these things lately to sit in judgement of anyone - I have judged more than I want to think about. I am done living the lie that being that I am somehow entitled to be judgemental all in the name of venting. Seriously, I really just want you to keep these things on your mind long enough to allow God to inspire something amazing in you, to heal wounds through you, to love through you. Maybe we can somehow all take this journey together through our stories on these blogs. I am so ready to actually blog about something I have done recently, rather than about something I have read.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."- Ghandi

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Orphans Vs. American Dream

Ok, so yep- I feel like I do a lot of preaching on here... and I want you to know that in reality I am talking to myself. The things I write about, it's my way of thinking through things- my way of working, changing- me. Today though I don't have to be the one preaching- this article does it for me. Definately something to think about... definately something to search our hearts over.

Orphans Vs. American Dream
By: Anthony Bradley

Why Does America Have Orphans If It Has Christian Churches?
America has nearly 115,000 orphaned kids in foster care waiting to be adopted. Some wonder how this is possible in a country with Christian families. Surely, there are 115,000 missional families in America, right? Missional families, for example, embrace the redemptive mission of God and practice "true religion" in their local communities (James 1:27). Missional Christians in America could eliminate the foster care system tomorrow if we would stop "shootin' up" with the American Dream (heroine) in order to get high on a lame life lived for the sake of comfort and ease.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world," writes James (1:27). As a matter of fact, the Bible has over 40 verses mandating God's people to look after orphans and the fatherless for various reasons.
According to the American Religious Identity Survey, conducted by the City University of New York, there are over 224 million Christians in the United States. So, why are there 115,000 orphans in a country that has over 224 million Christians?
Since God's people have always been called to live missionally we are not surprised to see that James is not saying anything new. "When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow" (Deuteronomy 24:21).
Let's break this down further. The Washington Times reports that there are about 65 million evangelicals in America. So, again, why are there 115,000 orphans in America's foster care system? Does this mean that there are 65 million people missing huge sections of their Bibles? Would someone please alert Crossway and Zondervan!
Historically, the early church was known for taking in their culture's orphans and the needy. This is such an ancient tradition of the church (except for post-1960s American evangelicals) that Pope Benedict XVI even talked about it in his first encyclical "God is Love." He writes, "the Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. . . Justin Martyr in speaking of the Christians' celebration of Sunday also mentions their charitable activity, linked with the Eucharist as such. Those who are able make offerings in accordance with their means, each as he or she wishes; the Bishop in turn makes use of these to support orphans, widows, the sick and those who for other reasons find themselves in need, such as prisoners and foreigners. The great Christian writer Tertullian relates how the pagans were struck by the Christians' concern for the needy of every sort."
Sadly, some of you are now more concerned about the fact that I quoted a Pope than you are about his actual point. Here's the deal: pagans were introduced to Jesus because Christians were taking care of the needy in obedience to Scripture. Taking care of the needy is not done only for the sake of evangelism. Practicing "true religion" is an extension of the kinds of Kingdom-oriented, salt and light, truth-bearing, grace-filled, Jesus-loving people who live to treat other people the same way God treats them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We were all orphans and God adopted us in his family, remember? "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Rom 8:14-16). As such, the best possible home for an orphan is in a home where a family is following Jesus together as former orphans themselves.
If your church is not cultivating an ethos that practices "true religion" it may not be missional at all. It may be dying or sinking into a consumeristic, entertainment quicksand where people come to have their "felt needs" stroked. Your pastor might wear "cool" clothes, have a "cool" blog, or be in the process of trying to make God and Jesus androgynous but God seems to care that his people are being led by capable men who lead the rest of God's people in bringing the Kingdom to their local neighborhood in all its forms.
While not all Christians are gifted or equipped for taking in orphans it's pretty convicting that 65 million American evangelicals can't rescue 115,000 kids from an unstable hell. If the pagans in our neighborhoods aren't struck by how our churches are applying the Word of God to the needy it's possible that we aren't the real deal yet. May we all pray that our churches are soon as mature as James commends. The revolution continues. . .

Anthony recommends: Bethany Christian Services (a Christian adoption agency operating in the US and abroad; www.bethany.org) and Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children by Dr. Robert A. Peterson.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This was written by Amanda at http://www.betterthanideserve3.blogspot.com/ Every once in awhile I run across something on someones blog that just blows me away. I absolutely LOVED this - could have written that myself if I could write that good :0) - and thought it was so good I had to pass it on!

Life is full of risks. Living is not about avoiding risks. Living is about choosing the risks you are willing to take. There is one thing I am not willing to risk. I am not willing to risk being disobedient to God in an effort to appease myself or others. But, here are some of the risks I AM willing to take:

1. I am willing to risk experiencing pain in life to learn about God's healing power.
2. I am willing to risk experiencing disappointment to learn about the pure joy that comes only from our Father.
3. I am willing to risk our money supply if God calls me to give when it doesn't seem possible to learn about trusting His ability to provide.
4. I am willing to risk my children experiencing having little to learn that having a lot only comes from God.
5. I am willing to risk being temporarily disliked by my children to correct their disobedience.
6. I am willing to risk my heart to be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend even though the most well-intentioned people can hurt me (and I hurt them sometimes, too).
7. I am willing to risk the comfort of my life to give a better life to a child in need.
8. I am willing to risk being seen as weird or crazy to allow others to see God working within my life.
9. I am willing to risk being unpopular to do what is right.
10. I am willing to risk my relationship with others for my relationship with God.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beauty of the heart

Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I ran across this video and it went along the lines of my previous post. The media plays such a big roll in what fills our children's minds and hearts. Our society is obsessed with looks. When I look at my children I see how beautiful each of them are in their own way and how perfectly God created them. But the world will and is telling them something different. How do we compete with that?

I guess what I want my girls to know is that while most of us aren’t going to be sought after by modeling agencies and high-powered companies because of our looks - we ARE being sought out daily by the only one who really matters. The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. He thinks we are beautiful. Now how much better does that get? He loves us more than we could ever imagine- just the way we are.

Americans spend billions of dollars and countless hours trying to look good on the outside, but while we are doing that we often forget about our hearts. I challenge you- spend some time, money, and effort making your heart beautiful -because that is what God looks at and that is all that should really matter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Dating Game

With almost 3 teenagers in our home the topic of dating is often brought up. I have been questioned recently by several people about our views on dating and why we do not allow our children to ‘go out’ or date until they are approximately 15 or 16 years of age (depending on their individually maturity). So I decided I would share our views on dating here. I want to make it clear though that I am NOT criticizing anyone if their views are different than ours- I am just simply explaining why we choose the route we choose and why we parent in this particular way.

I want to start off by saying that my belief on dating is this: the reason we date is to find a marriage partner. I know some people will argue that point- but if you think about it, what other reason would there be? Some may say to have fun- but I believe it is more fun to just be friends then- no pressure, no stress. That is what I want for my kids- to just be kids- be themselves. I want them to have time to get to know who they really are- their strengths their likes, their dislikes and who God created them to be. I feel that by entering into a dating relationship – or even ‘going out’ with someone too early they risk loosing a part of who they are because young people are so easily impressed. They want to fit in, be accepted- no matter what the cost.

I would never tell my child that they cannot have feelings for someone regardless so how young they maybe. My point is not to control them or put them in a plastic bubble. My point is that dating at a young age is too distracting. Why attach yourself to someone emotionally when emotionally you're not mature enough to make mature decisions? I would rather my children wait on dating to focus on what career they want, what college they want to attend, maybe do some mission work and serve. All the decisions they make along the way will impact who they become- and they bring to the marriage all of who they are. Then when God says they are ready He will bring them the perfect person He had in mind and they can enter into that relationship being secure in who they are and what they believe in. No scars from past relationships, no extra baggage and no shame.

Stop for a minute and think about what we do as parents to prepare and instruct our kids for dating today. It's pathetic really. Our kids have love and sex defined by what they see portrayed in the media. One article I was just reading stated that “statistic shows that in a given year, an average teenager watching an average amount of television will see over 9,000 sexual acts or innuendos, about 90% of those are with no consequences, no regret, no disease, no heartache, no pregnancies, etc.” Those are the messages that our kids are getting every day of their lives. For me that is not ok- not acceptable- and not what I want for my children. I don’t want my children to just know about purity. I want them to WANT purity. In order for me to teach them to desire purity it is up to me to put the time and effort into preparing them and instructing them in their dating life. It’s amusing really the time and effort we will put into teaching our kids to pitch the perfect baseball or even play the piano- but when it comes to dating we leave it to chance. Plus, a lot of times I think that kids only want a boyfriend or girlfriend just because ‘everyone else has one’. But I do not want my child falling into the ‘everyone else is doing it trap’ with dating or any other situation. I want them to know that its ok to be different, that its good to be strong enough to say no and to have the confidence to be able to be in individual with their own thoughts and beliefs. By setting definite boundaries and clear expectations on dating early on it takes the pressure off of our kids and has given them the precious time that they have to just be kids. :0)

Proverbs 31:10,11 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

Ephesians 5:25 And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Below is a post from my good friend Michelle's blog. Michelle and I met in process of our Guatemalan adoptions and Michelle and her family have become very special to us. Last Friday Michelle and Brent's daughter Abby (pictured above) was diagnosed with Leukemia. Please keep this precious family in your prayers. Their strength and courage will touch you- and their faith will change you. If you would like to visit Michelle's blog and let them know you are praying for them you can leave them a comment at http://riggsbunch.blogspot.com/

Our three year old daughter, who was adopted from Guatemala, was diagnosed Friday with Leukemia. We are so sad that she is going through this, but also praising God that He chose her to be our daughter and brought her to the United States, where she can receive excellent medical care. This is so hard for us to go through as a family, I can't even imagine the pain that mothers and fathers in poor countries feel when there children are ill or hungry. Today we are praying as much for those other parents, as we are for our daughter. We would deeply appreciate it if you would pray for our daughter's healing and add her to your prayer lists. Some have asked if they could tell our daughter's story on their blog. We would love it if you would tell her story or and link to our blog. The prayers mean more than we can express. Below is what my husband wrote to his many thousands of readers on his ministry site, http://www.seriousfaith.com/
An Opportunity of Faith
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV)
The Lord has chosen to bless our family with an opportunity for faith, trust, witness and spiritual growth. The Bible says to give thanks in ALL things, rejoice in ALL, never stop praying... so my wife and I thank God for however, whoever and whatever He is going to do in our lives during this trying time.

On Friday July 11, 2008, our 3 year old daughter, Abby, adopted from Guatemala at six months old, was diagnosed with Leukemia.
The previous Wednesday, she acting a little sluggish, and by Thursday it was obvious she was getting a “cold”, probably strep or tonsillitis, a common malady in our brood of seven. Thursday evening we took her to a minor care facility and she tested positive for strep. That night we also noticed she was getting petechiae (tiny “blood dots”) on her neck and cheek. My wife is an RN, I’m fairly medically savvy, and we both knew this was a concern. We decided we would get her in to our Pediatrician immediately the next day.
By morning, several bruises began to appear on Abby, and we were honest enough with ourselves to expect that the word “leukemia” was probably going to be part of our vocabulary in the future. After a day of running tests, When the Doctor walked in to give us results around 3 p.m., the diagnosis was written all over her face before the words passed over her lips. By sunset, we were at Children’s Hospital in OKC, pumping our three year old full of antibiotics, fresh blood and fluids.
On Monday (I’m writing this Saturday night), Abby will get a bone marrow aspiration, a biopsy, a spinal tap and her first dose of chemo. The leukemia type will be determined and a treatment journey laid out. Monday will not be fun, but should be full of blessing and opportunity to minister.
“How are you doing?” we are repeatedly asked.
We are neither casual nor despondent. As Christians, we have no reason to despair, nor is this a light burden. Abby could die. Abby could be healed. Abby could live a long life. Abby could be with us a few years and relapse, which statistically, is probable death. We pray of course for Abby’s total healing, and ask you to pray for the same. The end result however, is in the Sovereign Lord’s gracious hands, and we freely place our daughter in His most capable care, and accept the future as God’s perfect will.
The "facts" in any situation are tempered by the spiritual truths we know as Christians.
Intellectually and emotionally, we understand the medical facts of this cancer, and yet, it is all tempered spiritually. Our faith in God ensures us with both clarity and finality that all medical statistics and human experience is subject to the blessed sovereignty of God. It is in that omni-compassion that we take refuge, find rest, and place our hope. God may miraculously heal. God may have other plans. No matter, God will see us through and He is most glorified when His children genuinely place their trust in Him.
We know that God has not blinked. He is not busy somewhere else. No matter the eventual outcome, we have the hope of eternity which overshadows this vapor of temporal life, and the anticipation of God’s glory revealed through the inevitability of His sufficient grace. God’s hand is already clear and evident in the circumstances.
Consider this…
Out of tens of thousands of kids that we could have adopted from Guatemala, God providentially orchestrated Abby to be that child. He already knew her future needs, both spiritually and physically. God arranged for her to have family and community that have shown her the love of God and begun to teach her about Jesus, as well the ability to provide life-saving medical treatment.
As for me and my wife, I know that God will have some SPECIFIC purposes for this trial, meant just for us and our family. I cannot tell you what those are now, but sometime in the future, I believe they will be clearly revealed. However, from Scripture, I can tell you some general blessings God has for us through this hour of difficulty (and it is just as true for YOU too in your times of trial):
Produce patience - Rom. 5:3; James 1:3–4; Heb. 10:36
Bring joy - Ps. 30:5; 126:5–6
Help us mature - Eccles. 7:3; 1 Pet. 5:10
Increase righteousness - Heb. 12:11
Transform us into the image of Christ - Heb. 12:9, 10; 1 Pet. 4:12–13; Phil. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:7–10
Bring glory to God - Ps. 50:15; John 9:1–3; 11:1–4; 21:18–19; Phil. 1:19–20
Prove our relationship with God - Heb. 12:5–6
Cultivate prayer - Isa. 26:16
Be an example to others - 2 Cor. 6:4–5; 1 Thess. 1:6–7
Help us to counsel others - Rom. 12:15; Gal. 6:2; 2 Cor. 1:3–5
Be a witness of salvation - Acts 8:1–5; 16:25–34; Phil. 1:12–13; 2 Tim. 4:6–8, 16–17
Make us victorious - 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:35, 37
Drive us to God - 1 Pet. 4:14; 2 Cor. 12:10
Prepare us for ministry - 1 Kings 17–18; John 12:24
Reveal God’s sovereignty - Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 10:13; Ps. 66:10–12; Gen. 45:5–8; 50:20
Has God presented you with an opportunity of faith and thanksgiving? Maybe He has but you haven’t learn to see it that way yet. While increased faith comes in many ways, VERY often it is achieved through trials, hardship, suffering and uncertainty. Do you see it for the blessing that it is? Do you thank God for it?
My wife and I would ask you to pray for Abby, and for our family. While this will be fleeting “news” for friends and family, short of God’s miraculous intervention, it will become “life” for us for the next 2-3 years. That is not a criticism of people or I would have to criticize myself first. It is the natural order and process of life. Life moves on. We don’t forget those who labor or suffer, but life does in fact, move on. Even as life moves on for all of us, would you put us on your prayer list for the foreseeable future, and make brief mention of us in your supplications to God?
We would specifically ask you to pray for the following:
The complete healing of the Leukemia by whatever means, in whatever way, and in whatever time frame brings God the most glory… from the miraculous to the medicinal.
Trust and faith in God no matter what happens.
Patience and strength for the actual procedures and responsibilities that lie ahead.
Wisdom and provision for what will be a significant financial issue for us.
Opportunity to share the love of Jesus with the staff and doctors.
Please pray for those families and children who do not have the blessing of the health care we have in America.
I pray that through this, I personally will have a better understanding of faith, compassion, human nature and God’s nature… so that all in all, I can be a better minister, teacher, husband and father.
Visit Brent's site at: http://www.seriousfaith.com/

Friday, July 11, 2008

Road Trip #2

They say you can't mix business with pleasure but we sure did! Todd had to go to Louisiana on business so instead of staying at home missing him we decided to go along! It was a wonderful trip and the kids and I had a great time hanging out at the pool and water park while Todd worked. We did a little shopping for school shoes while we were there too.

Daddy enjoyed having us along I think and when it got a little loud in the car he just created his own 'ear plugs'. Hey- whatever works! :0)

Gotcha Day celebration

Today we spent the day celebrating Aleigha's 4th Gotcha Day- she loved every minute of it. She wore her traditional Guatemalan outfit and we made some of her favorite Guatemalan foods. She had lots of questions this year about Guatemala and how God brought her to her new family. What a blessing this precious child is.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Celebrating 4 years of Aleigha

I am posting about Aleigha’s Gotcha Day a few days early because we will be heading out again tomorrow for another mini vacation for a few days. I knew with travel home and then her Gotcha Day celebration it would be one busy day so I decided to go ahead and put this on here now.
Aleigha came home to us from Guatemala on July 11, 2004. I had no idea at that time how much God would change us and our lives, but I cannot think back on that day without the memories flooding back. Hands down- it was THE biggest life changer for us. At our house we celebrate Gotcha Days by reminiscing, looking at old pictures, eating a special Guatemalan meal and Aleigha will get a small gift- always something coming from her country of birth- Guatemala. We will pray for her birth family and for all of the children who are still waiting for their forever families to find them. If you have ever considered adopting there are no other words I can think of to say other than JUST DO IT. You will never, ever, be the same and your life will never be more fulfilled. Thank you God for 4 years of this precious child. Thank you for allowing me to be her mother and getting to watch her grow into exactly who you made her to be. This year we put together a little video of Aleigha over the past 4 years. The song was chosen by Aleigha- it’s her favorite and she knows every single word to it. Thank you God for your promises.

Aleigha’s story written in 2005
I’m not exactly sure where our story started…one could say it began across the continent, in the beautiful country of Guatemala with a woman named Ana, who made the choice to give the child she brought into this world a chance in life that she would never be able to give her…. Or, maybe it started with a family of six from Indiana who sat in church one Sunday morning and felt the overwhelming prompting from the Lord to add to their family through adoption. But, however it first began- It happened because two women, with two different lives, both loved a child and wanted her to have the best chance.
Although I was not present the day Aleigha was born, my love was already with her. For two years we had been praying daily for the child that God had planned for our family. I didn’t know who she was or even where she would be born- but I knew in my heart that there was a child out there that was meant to be ours and that in the Lords perfect timing she would join our family through adoption.
Aleigha was born in December, 2003. We got the call from our agency, Dillon International, about 2 weeks after she was born saying that they had a baby girl from Guatemala- would we be interested? I cannot explain the emotions that I experienced in that one phone call… What would it be like to have someone hand me a child and tell me that somehow, in some miraculous way, I would be the one blessed with the privilege of loving her and calling her my own. That I would be the one she would look to when she was uncertain or cling to when she was afraid. I would get to tuck her in each night, listen to her prayers and give her good-night kisses. And, that far away there was a woman with a broken heart, selflessly, courageously, giving me all that she would never have. I hate thinking of your birth mom, Ana’s loss as my gain. I want to think of it as two woman being willing to give the child that they both love the best chance in life. I want to think of it as Aleigha having 2 of the best kinds of love that together make her complete.
After many days and nights of prayer and the unending heartache of waiting to hold our daughter for the first time, my husband and I were told we could travel to Guatemala to bring our baby girl home. I will never, ever forget the first moment I laid my eyes on her. I remember how the elevator ride felt like it took an eternity to go up 2 floors… how the hallway smelled like oranges and how I knew that once I opened the door to that hotel room my life would be changed forever. I just had no idea to what extent. As I entered the room I could hear Aleigha crying- I dropped everything in my hands and literally ran to pick her up. I looked into those big, round black eyes and without a doubt in my mind, on that day- July 11, 2004, I knew I had seen a glimpse of heaven. Aleigha stopped crying and as I held her we sat there for what seemed like an eternity…. Gazing into each others eyes, just her and I, finally, together at last. I dreamed of the life we would have together and felt the pain of waiting for so long to have her in my arms slowly disappear. I have no idea what anyone said or did around me for the next few hours… all I knew was that I finally felt whole- looking into the eyes of a precious baby girl from Guatemala who needed me as much as I needed her.
The trip home was like a dream. I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I know that they sometimes warn people that they might not ‘bond’ right away but that was not the case with us. We definitely bonded. Once back in the states we received many warm welcomes and awaiting us was a host of loved ones waving American flags as we walked off the plane. Aleigha was surrounded by an amazing amount of love and acceptance and swept into the arms of her 3 brothers and sister who had waited and prayed right along side of their parents throughout the whole process.
Our lives have been so richly blessed since Aleigha came home. 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 young age she still has no idea how the love from two different women brought her to where she is today. All she knows now is that she is safe and cherished- the way every child deserves to be.
I often wonder what would have been if both Ana and I hadn’t stepped out in faith. How Aleigha’s life would have been so different. I still think of Ana often, mostly when I have one of those ‘catches in my heart’ while watching Aleigha enjoy an ice cream cone, or hearing her say “I love you mommy”. Once again I am reminded that I am living all that Ana is missing out on. My hope is that she would be happy with the way I am raising Aleigha and like the choices I am making for her life. I wish she could know how much I respect her, but most of all, I hope that she has peace.

Below is the poem I wrote for Aleigha while waiting for her.

Miracle Across The Miles
You came as an idea
A plan engraved inside my heart
You were born to be my child
Although we started miles apart.

Far across the world from me
A woman held you near
She whispered she’d always love you,
Then left you through her tears.

Then God put His plan into action
He worked out every part
How to bring a family together
That was born a world apart.

How someone whom I’d never met
Could become my every dream
Could only be the hand of God
So close to me it seems…

Never for one second
Were you ever an unwanted child
Because my dear my love for you
Just stretched across the miles.

My heart became your resting place
Your face my every thought
The waiting it was endless
But worth the heartache that it brought.

I live for the very moment
I can fly across the seas
And finally hold you in my arms
The place God meant for you to be.

So, Until that day I’ll keep my dream
Of the Miracle across the miles…
The daughter who was meant to be
My forever chosen child.
Written by mommy, 2004

Memories were made...

While some people might not consider staying in a cabin with 17 people (13 kids and 4 adults) a 'vacation' –for us it couldn’t have been more perfect. Above the fireplace in the cabin hung a little sign that said "Memories are made here" and it was right on. In that little cabin and on our vacation my kiddo's met their cousin Mario forthe first time. They played games together, ate together, prayed together, swam together slept next to each other, went on amusement park rides together and just got to know each other. My other kids who have always been close to their other cousins got to hang out, hear stories about when my sister and I were younger and just have fun being together. These times, these memories are so important to me. Family is THE most important thing. Thank you God for these memories- we will cherish them always