Monday, November 22, 2010

"Living Simply" - link to another blog post

This was such a great post, I just had to provide a link for you. It expressed how I think and feel, but probably in a gentler way than I might have come across, had I written it myself.
I'm working on that... (smile).

Hope you enjoy... and are challenged by the truth of it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Corn Dogs and Waffles

No husband home to make dinner for tonight. Usually this would be a breakfast-for-dinner kind of night, and the kids and I would be excited to have fried potatoes, french toast, or some such stuff. (Jason's not big on breakfast-for-dinner. He'll eat it, but there's a mental block there for the poor guy. I think that's insane. I mean, what can be more fun than breakfast for dinner, right??)

Don't feel like making potatoes. No bread for french toast. No fruit left in the house. No motivation to make anything whatsoever. So...

...yep, you guessed it. Corn dogs and frozen waffles for dinner. Can we find one trace of anything nutritional or healthy in either of these items? I think not. Did I think about at least trying to feed my children something decent? Yes. Did that go anywhere? Nope.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


OK... It's getting late, and I should take my sick self to bed. But I am video-happy tonight apparently. For someone who knows so little of technology, it's astounding me how many fun things are out there for me to waste my time on! Seriously... waste. But, hey... just in case you are so inclined to waste a little time tonight as well, these are for you.

A VERY cool video... I could watch this again and again!

Morning Elegance from MillyFilms on Vimeo.

One of my favorite songs with video from my all-time favorite TV show. Oh how I miss you, LOST.

My other all-time favorite TV show... "The Cosby Show"... love this clip with their lip sync routine! Oh man, wouldn't it be great if there were something fun and clean like this on TV now? Hopefully you can view this one from the youtube link below...

Book Recommendation: "Radical"

This book was lent to us by some friends. I LOVED it. Really... I loved it. It is not comfortable, it is not easy... but that's why I liked it so much... it's exactly the stuff that God's been teaching our family over the last several years. Seriously, if you're not afraid to be challenged right out of your "American Dream" life & mindset, then it's really worth checking out. As I write this post, it's only $5.oo or so at Amazon on sale.
Here are some videos that sum up the message of the book:

RADICAL from David Platt on Vimeo.

About Radical from David Platt on Vimeo.

Orphan Sunday Videos

I tried to put these videos in the previous post about Orphan Sunday, but I am not a computer nerd. I'm just a plain ol' nerd... with no computer skills whatsoever! :)
But, I finally figured it out... so here they are.
Really... they're worth a watch.

Do Something Now from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.

Creation Groans from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

True Religion from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orphan Sunday

We had the privilege to be part of something called "Orphan Sunday" in our church just a few days ago. A small group of us really desire to share the need for the church to stand up and obey God when he tells us to care for the orphan and the widow. Thankfully, our church stood behind us and allowed us to use this past Sunday's service to that end. (Many churches were doing the same thing on the same day, which is exciting and encouraging to me.)

About 5 of us shared our involvement and experiences with orphan care and adoption, our Pastor shared about the blessing of obedience to the Lord in this area, and we even had worship music that reflected God's heart for the fatherless. My heart was in its element.

I was really nervous to share in front of so many people (and we don't even have an extremely large church!), in fact... I often thought as I prayed about what I should share in the month before, that I would MUCH rather write it all up so people could read it. But the bottom line was that this was important. Much more important than my being nervous. SO, I kept praying for God to lift the anxiousness. He was so faithful. I was still a bit nervous, but I was able to say what was on my heart, and even went so far as to add things not in my notes! That, for me, is incredible... :) So, I KNOW that the Lord was giving me courage and words to share. In fact, some of what I said, I can't even remember!
Jason shared the basics of our journey so far... and what God's been teaching us through it. I loved hearing him share! Here's the gist of what I shared : (And I struggled with my emotion through a good part of it.)
I think that what we have been learning in the past 3 years is that this life is just not about us. It is not about my comfort. It is not about my ease. It's not about my agenda. It's about God's. It's about giving ourselves away. It's simply about seeking Jesus and obeying him.

It's the obedience part that can be tricky.

But we are to take Jesus' name, and love, and light into places that are dark, and hard, and difficult, and dangerous.

That is where orphans abound.

We have experienced that war is being waged over the fatherless... because our God, who is Father to the fatherless, pursues them, and so does his enemy. If we engage in this battle, we're in the middle of the war.

During the year we searched in foster care to adopt children who needed a family, we were stretched in so many instances. The Lord seemed to bring us to so many children who were WAY different than we thought we were open to originally. Each time, he seemed to be saying, "What about these children... would you take them?" And each time, we struggled through our fear and our doubt to get to the point where we said, "Yes, Lord." But each time, God would then shut the door. We pursued a sibling group of four children. Crazy! But, we got willing, and God closed the door. He brought along a little guy who was HIV positive, and I struggled through the very real possibility of having to watch him die. We got to the point where we were willing to let our hearts be broken in that way, and God shut the door. It happened again and again. Many, many kids. I don't pretend to understand all the reasons, but I do know that our hearts were broken over and over again for his children... all sorts of his children. And I'm glad. I don't want that to be different.

We've seen that there is a war over them all. I can stand up and fight for them, act in respond in obedience to Jesus' commands, or I can pretend that he doesn't mind when I look the other way.
But, honestly, it's difficult and risky for me to stand up and fight for people I don't know. So- the Lord has given us the past three years to get to know some orphans. Face to face. He's opened our eyes to what this war is all about.

It's ugly... and frustrating... and heartbreaking at times. It's caused us to depend on the Lord as we've never had to before. It's SO worth it though, because while obedience is painful, God is an incredible rewarder. Our family has experienced true HOPE and PEACE and JOY... even in the midst of some very difficult realities. Our hearts have been broken over his children, but I can now truthfully say that I wouldn't want it any other way.

What a crazy three years it's been. What a refining and reshaping time it's been. We are no where closer to parenting orphaned kids at this point, since we have no idea what will happen in Liberia, but God has certainly developed a heart in us for his children. In fact, it's only because of the many trials and shut doors that our eyes have been opened to the larger need. We are in this for good now. Forever. Just not sure what that means yet. :)

A "Shout Out"

This is a "shout-out" to the amazing home-group of people who have prayed for our family and our adoption for some time now. Art & Carol, please pass on to everyone our deep appreciation for being able to meet with you and fellowship with you. Thank you for listening to our hearts, and most of all, thank you for caring enough to pray faithfully. It blessed us to be able to be with you! I hope you are all doing well! I gave my Dad some pictures that he will pass on to you sometime soon! :)

With Love,



Many fall mornings in Oregon are completely fogged in if you live in the valley. With mountains all around, the heavy damp air settles during the night and can't escape... so it sits in the valley. When you wake up, it can be rather depressing. It's quite gloomy. It's damp and cold and makes you long to curl up inside and nap. The air around you actually seems so thick that sometimes it blocks your view of the beautiful things around. The sun just can't break through until it warms sufficiently in the afternoon and burns off the fog, layer by layer.

The interesting thing is that the sun is shining. It's just way above the valley... above the many layers of heavy fog... above the places where the gloom gets stuck.

We drove out of the fog to visit the sun one morning. At least that's what Jason said we were doing. I had my doubts. I mean, the fog was so thick that we couldn't see ANY trace of the sun anywhere. We drove for 30 minutes up into the base of the mountains. Still foggy. We drove up the roads that lead to the lumber roads. Still foggy. We drove 20 minutes past the point where the lumber roads begin, where nothing else exists except for trees, trees, and some more trees. Still foggy. Although... I have to admit, it's kinda beautiful now... yet still gloomy.

Then a funny thing happened. I saw a sun ray peeking through the branches. It wasn't overly bright, but it was sun. After driving just a few more miles, it was all different. Everything had changed. We pulled over and stopped. It was amazing. The sun was pouring over everything. We could see the tops of the mountains on the other side of the valley. It was warm instead of clammy and damp.

The fog was still there. It was as heavy and as thick as it ever was. It hadn't changed.

We were just above it now.

Now, after toiling up the mountain... we could see that fog from a different viewpoint. And though it looked gloomy and depressing from below, I have to say that it was crazy-beautiful from above. It looked like an ocean surrounded by mountains. It looked like a sun-kissed sea. And you'd never know it, but there were cities and towns and people all hidden underneath.


It's all about how we look at things. How we choose to view something. What angle we give it.

It was the first full day of our trip when we got a call from our adoption coordinator, who has also become a dear friend. More bad news, just weeks after things looked really possible for the first time in a long time. (I'm sorry I can't share details, but it is a protection for Liberia's kids and their chances to get home.) It's not like we haven't been through disappointment before. It's not like we don't know how to deal with it. But this time, I really grieved. I grieved the loss of my kids in my heart. I have said before that this has felt like a miscarriage at times. It does, but worse than my actual experience with miscarriage many years ago when all I really grieved was the loss of the idea or dream of someone. Because we have held Kelvin and Hawa and loved them tangibly, the feelings of loss are greater and wider and deeper.

Well, since things change daily in Liberia, we heard a week later that President Sirleaf dismissed all of her cabinet except for one person, making it altogether possible to get a different answer about the future of adoptions than we got before. So, I guess I am supposed to be glad.

The thing is that I am not glad. I'm not anything. I really dealt with the hopeless thing again. I really questioned God's goodness. I found it difficult to talk to him for several days... and that's tragic because he's my best friend. Thankfully, as he always does, he draws me back to himself with tenderness. He causes me to remember the many, many, many times in the past that he has shown himself faithful and worthy to be trusted. He lets me ask my questions, feel my pain, and have my bad attitude. Then he asks me to stand up and be a big girl. He asks me to trust his goodness, to keep going, to be humble and know that he is God, and to know that His ways are most certainly higher and better than mine.

I don't know where things will end up, or where my kids will end up, or where I will end up when all is said and done. But, I'm choosing to have a different perspective.

It feels gloomy and dark and depressing sometimes. I'd like to curl up and shut my eyes and avoid going out in it. I'd like to give in to the illusion that there is nothing around me but this void. But here's the great thing about knowing Jesus... I can tell a lie from the truth now. I can give in to the fog of discouragement and despair, or I can recall the way things really are, and remember the beauty around me... even when I can't see it anymore. I can choose to take that long and hard and sometimes doubtful journey to the place where the perspective changes... where there is light and sun... purpose and hope. I can trust God enough to lift me out of my fog and to trust that one day, not only will I really enjoy the view, I'll also understand the beauty on the other side of the fog. In fact, maybe it's all the more amazing because the fog was there in the first place.


We've returned from our adventures in Oregon.

Can I just say that (and pause with each comma to really appreciate the following list on my behalf...)~

oceans, redwoods, mountains, rivers and craters...

geese in the field on a brisk misty morning...

watching my kids running after the geese in Grandma and Grandpa's HUGE rubber boots on a brisk misty morning...

coffee talks with my Mom, bear hugs from my Dad, heart-to-hearts with my sister as we snuggle in my old room...

Oma's belly laugh, beautiful heart, and glowing skin as she laughs... all at age ninety...

Seeing all of the older generations of Germans get together to celebrate life, even though I know that I may never have the chance to be a part of something like this again before heaven...

Playing at my favorite childhood park with my cousin's beautiful family, and the weight of baby Levi falling asleep in my arms...

being able to take work and school "on the road" to enable us to be with my parents for a nice long time...

crimson fall leaves brilliant in the late afternoon sun...

Jason holding me in his arms as we gaze out at the world from the top of a mountain or as we stand alongside the vast ocean, and knowing that's just who he is... the one who holds me through it all...

... makes me appreciate life in a tangible way and gives me joy.

It was a good trip. It's a good life. I am thankful.