Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charity Water

Our sister-in-law surprised us this Christmas and bought us these tee-shirts. I don't think she really knows how much they mean to us. First, they were the best kind of gift - one that gives in two places. We get to enjoy the tee-shirt and the money spent on them will be used to drill wells in Liberia, so people will get the gift of clean water. How awesome is that? Second, she picked a present that really represents who we are. Dale and I both have hearts for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the underdog, and the outcast. So, here we are donning our new shirts!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This is a test

Can you tell which child has a sponsor? Please do not ever question whether sponsorship makes a difference or not. The inward changes are just as dramatic as the outward changes. Ask yourself if God is calling you to help out a child in need. There are many credible organizations out there. Choose one and change a child forever!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dates with our kids

Dale and I decided a long time ago that WE would be the first ones to date our children. Since our oldest was about 8, I have taken him out so he will know how to treat a lady. He opens the van door for me, pulls my chair out for me to sit, and shares his heart with me. These have been precious moments. We now have 3 children old enough to go on "dates".

Here are a few photos from our most recent moments. How do you like my red-eyes?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daddy's Hands

In the adoption world, there is much talk about attachment. Most adopted children have had the normal cycle broken for various reasons. When children have needs and the parent is unable to meet the need, eventually the child shuts down and withdraws. As adoptive parents, one of our greatest jobs is to reaffirm the child's needs and attend to them quickly.

Another element makes this process more difficult than it would has been broken. The child does not believe that you will continually meet his/her need for food, love, shelter, etc. They have learned at an early age that nothing lasts forever, including families. Some children do all that they can to push the adoptive parents away. To trust them to be there and love you would mean risking hurt. This was the case with our son. As soon as he would find himself wanting to love and trust me, he would do whatever naughty behavior he could think of. His little mind would reason that I am going to eventually leave him, too. He might as well behave badly enough to just get it over with.

Many nights I have held him and assured him over and over again that Mommy will not leave no matter how naughty he behaves. Often he will melt and sob into my chest with those words. For one more night, he trusts that I will be there.

I'm sure most of you can see the parallels with our relationship with our Heavenly Father. God is completely trustworthy, yet the circumstances of my life have made me doubt that. My earthly father died when I was 15, which has led me to expect my Heavenly Father to abandon me at various times. I have to go to His Word and rely on Truth (not feelings).

In the past few weeks, my son wants to sit on my lap whenever I sit down. He then takes my arms and wraps them around him. If I let one of my arms slip or move, he will promptly grab it and put it back around him - holding him tightly again. Progress has been made!

Then I think about my own progress. Do I grab onto God and make sure I am firmly in the center of His will? When I feel He is distant, do I strive to feel His arms around me? He never moves, so have I? There is no place more grand than being in my Daddy's arms.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thinking of Christmas

I have always wanted to be the Proverbs 31 woman. She is the epitome of female perfection. If you want to know what this type of perfection looks like, go and read the whole chapter. One of the verses says, "She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy." I want to be THAT kind of woman!

So what on earth does this have to do with Christmas, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Last week our family put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We fill a shoe box with items that a child in a Third World would need. Things like soap, pencils, a shirt, flip-flops, toothbrush and toothpaste go in the box and some child will get it as his/her Christmas present.

As the box is handed to the child, a booklet with the plan of salvation is also given to the child. Many children have come to know Jesus this way. It is written in their native language and the pictures look like the children it is going to.

I started thinking about the children we sponsor, specifically Harriet. Harriet is an orphan and lives at the orphanage I love called Rapha. She is one of 52 kids there who are true orphans. Another 250 kids come to school at Rapha. These other 250 are the poor and needy of the world. The above pictures are all kids who are from this particular area.

God spoke to my heart and told me to contact Operation Christmas Child, also known as Samaritan's Purse, and see if I could purchase just the booklets for the kids at Rapha. You see, a booklet is a precious thing to a child who doesn't own a single book. For most of them, it would be the ONLY present the child will receive this Christmas.

In my lack of faith, I expected OCC to say no. Just the opposite proved to be true. They were happy to give the name of the company who puts the tracts out. Each one costs 50 cents. I am asking all of you, my faithful friends, if you would help me get the Gospel into these kids' hands. Most of us can afford 50 cents or a dollar or two. I don't want to leave anyone out at Rapha, which means 300 tracts. Unfortunately, I do not have the entire $150.00 to send to cover the cost. Will you help?

Please send me an e-mail to me and I will send you my address. All money will go for the booklets. Any extra will be used to purchase even more for the surrounding families. Thank you for prayerfuly considering being a part of this Kingdom Gift!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Raking Leaves

It was quite the job to get all of the leaves to the dump, but the help made it all worth while!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Sometimes I am so completely overwhelmed with the fact that the same God who made spectacular sunsets, cares about little ole me! This week God lavished His immeasurable love on me. He showed me how He cares about not only my needs, but also my dreams.

Many of you know that I fell in love with Uganda when I was there this past spring. All I can think about is WHEN will I be able to go back. I drive my family nuts with my incessant thinking, sometimes I even drive myself nuts. As hard as I try, I cannot get Africa off my mind. Maybe, God doesn't want me to get it off my mind.

I took my older boys to a christian concert a week ago. As we were leaving, there before me was a booth set up. From where, you guessed it - Uganda! I briefly spoke with the woman at the booth. She told me her name was Ruth and gave me a brochure.

Later that evening, I glanced over the information Ruth had handed me. I discovered that she would be speaking at a coffee shop about her ministry. I mentioned to Dale that I would like to go and hear her.

Last Friday was the appointed night for Ruth to do her presentation. After almost 2 weeks of sick kids, I was more than ready to get out of the house. We arrived at the coffee shop and was greeted with a big hug from Ruth. I'm not sure how, but she recognized me from the concert.

We conversed for awhile and before I knew it, I invited her to my house. The amazing thing is that she accepted! Mind you, I don't know this woman. When God moves, you don't question it, though. Think of all of the disciples Jesus called. None of them said, "Could you give me a couple of weeks to think it over?" or "I need to go ask my wife if she minds me changing careers." No, they went, immediately.

So, yesterday I drove to where Ruth is staying and picked her up. Instantly I loved her. She has overcome more in her mere 30 years on this planet than what many of us have had to endure in a lifetime. Since she was 6 years old, she was left to raise her 4 younger siblings. Yes, at Olivia's age, she was fetching water, bathing the kids, making them meals and caring for them when they were sick. She took on any job she could find in order to pay for her school fees. Today, she has earned her Master's Degree in statistics. When asked how this was possible, she quickly gives all of the credit to God. She is a living example and testimony to the fact that God's plans cannot be thwarted.

What is even more amazing is that this dear woman made a promise to God when she was a teenager and she kept it. She told God that if He helped her to finish school, she would help other kids who were growing up in circumstances like she did. The day she graduated, she asked God to show her the kids. That was 5 years ago, today she is the mother to 60 children! Twenty-two have sponsors, but the rest of them she supports! None of us can complain about having too many kids to feed.

So, there we were - cooking chipote in my kitchen, sharing stories about Uganda, fellowshipping with a sister in Christ. For a moment, my world stood still as I basked in the revelation that God cares about me caring about Africa. He sent Ruth. When all things point to the fact that I won't be able to go to Uganda anytime soon, He brought a piece of Uganda to me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Whoever Humbles Himself Like This Child...

I have always loved children. When I was in college, I was a nanny to three lovely girls. They were my pride and joy. Dale and I used to joke that we were going to have 12 kids. Here we are half way to that number!

Many people look at us and think we are nuts. I think we are blessed! Another adoptive mom said on her blog that our children are the only thing we can take with us to heaven. That's why they are so worth our time and investment into their lives.

As I ponder why Jesus tells us to humble ourselves like a child, many things come to mind. First, children completely trust their parents. To those of us who have had good earthly parents, we did not wonder as children if our parents would take care of our needs. We just knew they would care for us. I would doubt my Heavenly Father less with caring for my needs if I went back to this simple faith.

Second, my kids are usually pretty good at doing whatever I ask of them. They may grumble, but seldom do they tell me outright that they will not do something. How many things has God aked me to do? Am I willing? Can I even hear what God is asking me to do or have I moved out of earshot. The closer I am to Him, the more likely I am to hear when He speaks. Ever notice how our children are usually under our feet? They just want to be close to us.

Oh, that I would humble myself like a child and sit at the feet of Jesus. May I listen to His every word and say "Yes, Daddy!" when He asks something of me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Let's turn this verse around a bit. Do you want to know how to please God? You must have faith - no faith, no pleasing. What is faith? To the world it looks like stupidity. It's trusting that your bills will be paid when the checkbook is empty. It's having hope when there is no reason to have hope. It's trusting God's promises when you are staring at a mountain that is in your way.

God says that faith is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." No, I have never seen heaven, but I am certain I will one day. Why? Because God says so. He cannot tell a lie. If he tells you something, you can be sure it will happen. God cannot be contrary to his word.

As I looked at this picture of my daughter in a flourishing apple tree, I thought how the farmer had once planted a seed with the hope and faith that it would grow into a fruitful tree. Years later it has. May the seed of faith that God has planted in my life grow with each passing year until one day my branches are full of moments when I trusted God, even though I couldn't see him.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Life as been full of ups and downs lately, more than usual.
God is in the process of refining me. He is doing so for my own good, but oh how it hurts. You know it is dangerous to pray and ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. God will surely answer your request.

In the midst of much pain, God surprises me in a way only He can and reminds me of His great love for me. Today I received the sweetest letter in the mail. It was from my newest sponsored child in Uganda, Harriet. When I was over in Africa in April/May, I knew the next child that we would sponsor would be one of the kids I would meet on the trip. I did meet Harriet, but I didn't know that I had...until today.

She lives at Rapha, the place I really loved. I had the privilege of being able to spend a few days with the kids at Rapha prior to meeting up with the rest of the team. On one of those days, we were asked to teach the kids a Bible lesson. Due to the great disparity in ages, we taught about Jesus washing the disciples' feet. We then proceeded to wash all of the kids feet.

In the letter I received today Harriet said, "I have never forgotten the day you visited us and washed our feet. I was among the kids and I still remember the song.I thank you for loving me and praying for me. I will also continue praying to God to bless you abundantly for the heavy load you are carrying."

She met me and remembers!!! Do you know how exciting it is to know you have been face-to-face with the child you care for, pray for, write to and love on?! I wish I could remember her. Some day I will go back and re-introduce myself. I have to. She is not just a photo. She is a real, living child who has suffered much. She considers herself my daughter. I have to let her know I truly care for her.

The song she speaks of is "He Knows My Name". It is a beautiful song that talks about how Jesus knows us each by name and sees each tear that falls. What joy God has allowed me to have today, knowing for a brief moment I was able to touch this young girl's life.

To those of you who sponsor children - WRITE TO THEM!! It means everything to hear from you. It says you care. It says that they are about more than just sending a check once a month. It says you thought about him/her enough to interrupt your busy life for a moment. They are so worth it. Wouldn't you do that for your biological children if they were on another continent?

Friday, October 9, 2009

More Hair

Twenty-four hours and a skein of yarn later, my girl has the long hair she asked for. Glad I don't have to take it out for at least 8 weeks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

My baby girl wanted "long" hair like her sisters. Thanks to a local beauty vendor, I was able to pick up this ponytail for her. She has been shaking her head all day to feel her hair. Tomorrow, it's back to braids and beads.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Past 36 Hours

Thank you everyone who prayed! We needed prayer coverage and felt the blessings of it.

Dale's surgery was a success, but it ended up being more complicated and the herniation larger than the doc's originally thought. While he was under anesthesia, his legs were flailing the entire time the doctor was operating. As a result, the doc accidentally nicked the dura around the spinal cord. Dale immediately went from out-patient to in-patient. I had to scramble to find someone who was out of his/her mind enough to be willing to watch 6 kids at the last minute - overnight! You know that romantic get-away we were supposed to have...I certainly hope last night was not it!

It was a pretty rough day, but many faithful friends made it easier to get through. I was blessed by visitors who kept me company, dinner made for me and a sister-in-law who decided she was crazy enough to take all 6 overnight. God is good!

I would love to share more, but I am so sleep deprived that I can't think of anything besides my bed at the moment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Times of Trial

Today I am sitting in a waiting room, waiting for my husband to get out of surgery. Many thoughts race through my mind. First, I am reminded that it is God alone who gives life. Every moment is in His hands, but at times such as this we are forced to pause and reflect on this fact. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Mt 6:27 I cannot worry about whether the doctor is well-rested, whether there will be permanent nerve damage, whether this procedure will provide the much needed relief Dale seeks or whether insurance will pay for this. Worry will get me nowhere, but it might give me an ulcer. The one thing I can do that makes a difference is to pray. I can lay all of my burdens down at the feet of Jesus and trust that He will take care of them.

We have already seen many people in the body of Christ be tangible hands and feet to us this past week. God IS taking care of us. He sent a wonderful girl to watch our children (at 4:15a.m. mind you!) He put it on the hearts of friends from Dale’s Bible study to bring us supper. He has called upon the believers to pray for us (some even fasted, some prayed for over an hour at a time). We have the best set of Godly friends! Thank you to all of you who have given of your time, talent and/or money to share the love of God with us.

The second thing that became abundantly clear to me this week is how quickly life can change. Dale went from being a very self-sufficient man to one who needed help with the smallest of tasks. One wrong slip of the knife and he could be paralyzed for the rest of his earthly days. If insurance denies our claim, we will be in financial trouble. How easy it is to just sail through life thinking you don’t really need God. The truth is that we need to be in daily abandonment to the Lord. He wants us to trust Him with every moment, not just the ones of crisis.

So, today I am on my knees. I am praying for my husband, his health and our finances. I will also be praying for my children, their teachers, and friends because I can trust God with the mundane as well as the highly emotional.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Give Thanks In All Circumstances

On a much smaller level, our family is feeing a bit like Job. A couple of weeks ago one of our children put a WII controller through the new 42 inch tv that was a family Christmas present last year. A few days after that our dryer decided to succumb to an early death. A few more days go by and Dale's back goes out. In the past week, it has progressively become more painful. The stove is trying to decide whether to live or die and I wouldn't be surprised if the washing machine jumps on the band-wagon. Oh, and did I mention that 3 out of 6 kids lied to us in the past 2 days over homework. The clincher, though, there is a rider on our insurance policy for Dale's back. His MRI and anything else he needs to have done will all be out of pocket.

As I was traveling back from the pharmacy, for yet another prescription, God reminded me to stop and joyfully give thanks for all that has taken place recently. So, I praised God for clotheslines as I hung up our clothes.I thanked Him for the unusually warm streak we have going on right now (helps dry the clothes). I praised him that we live in a country with good healthcare.I praised Him for taking away things so that I will miss them and not take them for granted.I praised Him that Dale still has a job.I praised Him just because He Is and it felt great!!

I'd like to think we are at least half-way through this time of being tested. If not, my soul will praise the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.He is my rock, my fortress, my redeemer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mail From Uganda

A friend from Uganda had heard it was my daughter's Birthday and asked for our mailing address. He wanted to send her a letter. Time passed by and said letter never arrived. Well, about 3 weeks ago I received an e-mail that he had forgotten about it and had just sent it on it's merry way.

A few days after the original e-mail, he sent another one. He had mistakenly put my daughters first name and then my husband's name for our last name. Second problem, he sent it to our Church's address (since it was the only one he had).

I could only think about the issues we heard of with Liberia and it's "mailing system". Basically, anything going in or out of the country never made it to its destination. Corrupt people would help themselves to the goods. I envisioned the same process happening in Uganda. I truly thought there was no hope for the letter to make it to the U.S.

To my complete surprise, the parcel arrived at our Church and today my girl had the privilege of opening it. Not only was she blessed with a letter but with bracelets, bookmarks and a coin purse! I don't think I want to know how many meals were missed or what sacrifice our Ugandan friend made in order to send this to her. Let's just say that I am constantly being humbled by my African friends.

There is a phrase that says, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." I am seeing how true this is. I arrogantly thought I had things I could teach the people I met in Africa. How wrong I was! It is them who have taught me so when the going gets tough, you run to God and fast for 21 to 40 days.(The correct answer is NOT to run to the chocolate!) Like, how to give out of your "nothing". Like, how to pray BELIEVING that God will really answer your request for your needs to be supplied. Yes, I definitely need Africa more than it needs me!!

If you are interested in hearing about the latest team's adventures in Uganda, click here. I guarantee it's worth your time!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

17 years and counting

Today is my 17th wedding anniversary. We were SUPPOSED to be celebrating it by getting away to a hotel and having dinner out. Let it suffice to say that this happens less freqently than leap year. Let it also be said that it takes a small miracle to find someone to stay with all 6 of our kids. Instead of eating a gourmet meal someone else has made and enjoying a romantic evening, I am here blogging about what was to take place and didn't.

Remember the clause in the vows that says "for better or worse, in sickness and health..."? Let's just say that is the clause that gets a lot of people in to trouble. Wouldn't we all like for it to be "in health, for better, in times of plenty..."? It's during the difficult times that we grow, though.

This week my husband hurt his back. He wasn't doing anything strenuous. He simply adjusted himself in his office chair. The result is he cannot sit or lie down without intense pain. After 3 nights of no sleep, and I mean NO sleep, he went to the doctor. Unfortunately, the true cause of his discomfort could not be diagnosed, because he was unable to get into the necessary position for an MRI. A prescription for 4 drugs and 24 hours later he is still not finding any relief.

It was a mutual decision (not to mention obvious) to cancel our plans.

Despite how today turned out, I want to say "Happy Anniversary Honey"! You are the husband I dreamed of and longed for in my youth. I praise God that you are a man after His heart. May we be celebrating many more years together!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meet My Girl!

Dale and I have sponsored children for several years. Last March, we received a call that our girl had graduated from the program. We prayed about where to take a new child from. At the time I was in the process of preparing to go to Uganda with Children's Hopechest. God told me to wait. He had a child there for me.

The second orphanage we visited was called Rapha. I learned so much there. The kids quickly showed me what is important in life and what is not. I learned what it feels like to watch hungry children sit in the shadows watching the sponsored kids eat. I learned that soap and shoes and underwear are privileges, not necessities. I learned how to play hand games to count numbers and recite your ABC's, since chalkboards are also not essential.

We traveled on to other sites which progressively became worse, if that is even possible. The situations were dire. Signs of hope faded.

At the end of the vision trip, I still felt a pull towards Rapha. Perhaps it was because the children there shine for Jesus. I told Brandi to find a child for me there. She said I would have to wait because all of the orphans had sponsors. I agreed to do just that.

In my quiet time one morning, I felt God telling me that He had a girl for me(up to this point I was open to either gender).I e-mailed Brandi, informing her of this revelation and she e-mailed right back and said she just happened to have a girl who needed a sponsor. God is so good and works in amazing ways. I wanted to cry that the God of the universe would care about me and my desires and save this sweet girl just for us.

Her name is Harriet. She is standing next to Arthur who is the team leader at Rapha. Isn't she beautiful? One day she won't have those "orphan eyes". I pray that the sadness, distrust, fear and loneliness will be gone. In exchange may her eyes reflect joy, trust and the love of her Savior. Oh how I want to go over and just sqeeze the juice right out of her and tell her that I love her.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My baby girl lost her front tooth. Of course, this event took place 2 weeks before school pictures. We will forever have a permanent reminder of this momentous occasion. The culprit - an ear of corn!

After losing said tooth, she calmly walked to the garbage can and threw it away! All 7 of us shouted at the same time "You can't do that! You have to put it under your pillow."

She looked at us like we had 3 heads and said, "It ain't no good anymore!"