Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mothers and Daughters

Relationships between mother’s and daughter’s can be fraught with so many different kinds of emotions.

I have a great relationship with my mom. She’s amazing. It’s not always been that way though… I mean she’s always been amazing, I just didn’t always treat her that way. Not sure why… dumb teenager with dumb hormones and way too selfish in my thinking I guess.

As I have grown so has my appreciation for her. She has more creativity in her little finger than I have in my whole body. She’s the kind of person that still sends people cards, just because. She will show up to all the kids games and presentations and is the grandmother that makes cookies, and fills the sink with water so you can give your Raptosaurus (My Niece’s fave) a bath.

I am a keep it together kind of gal. I don’t usually cry at the drop of a hat. I used to think it was a personality flaw, but now I just accept it. The thing is that if mom cries I cry… if mom gets emotional I do. I can be holding it together no problem and I will look at my mom and the water works just gush. It’s the same with her… no clue why that is, but it sometimes makes it hard to share things of importance with each other.

She is with my grandparents right now. My little tiny grandmother is in the end stages of heart failure. She was admitted to the hospital on Monday with a pulmonary edema and it damaged her heart further. She now only has about 15% use of her heart which then escalates the dementia that had already begun. She doesn’t have long left on the earth with us.

She is facing the death of her mother…

My dad called to tell me that mom may try to call but she wasn’t sure she would because then she would cry…lol Crying in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but there are times when opening the flood gates seems harder than holding it inside. She knows I am here, I know she is there… and we know we can’t talk to each other…lol

I hurt for her as she watches her mother die… because I know someday that will be me.

Will you pray with her, and with me…and with my grandfather who loves her so?

SO sweet...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Quiet blogger alert….

So I have been in a season of pruning for a bit. And since parts of it aren’t pretty I have chosen not to share so much here. Shocking! I know because I tend to be more honest on here than I really should be…

Let’s just say that God is doing a work in me… daily, hourly... minute-ly (sorry it isn’t a word, but it fit) :) It has to do with love, loving my neighbor and myself. I don’t have any issue loving Ethiopia, the people I met and loved there, worrying over the children and my new friends… I forget those right here in my own home… ouch!

There are several proverbs and psalms involved…and a verse from Matthew about a bushel and a light. I believe somewhere along the way I allowed satan to place a bushel over my light… I need it removed.

Most of my pruning has come in the form of learning about keeping my mouth closed and praying before speaking.

Life is good… that’s not the issue. N has improved a lot since our talk with him about some things, E is strong and healthy, D and I are going strong… S and Z are great. The mission trip is coming along…

I actually really appreciate this season of pruning because I need to get rid of some JUNK and find that place of joy again. He’s showing me how.

So… I may be quiet for a bit. You know, that whole, shut up and listen thing.

I will try to take some pics of the kids though and share them in the quiet. They are way way better than my random thoughts anyway. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

If He Plans It They Will Come

Have you seen the movie field of dreams? There’s this guy, and he hears a ‘voice’ that says to him “If you build it they will come.” It’s referring to a baseball field…in the middle of a corn field. So the guy builds it, while people think he’s nuts. And ‘they’ come. It’s a bit like Noah’s story, God said build it and he listened, and they came.

This line, slightly altered has been running through my head lately… “If He plan’s it they will come.” I am not hearing a voice :) Just realizing that as I plan this next trip that He will work out the details and they are certainly coming!!

We are having our next meeting this Wednesday and we have had to make the decision that the first 20 people that get their paperwork and deposit in will be the one’s to come along. I think it’s an amazing issue to have to put a cap on the amount of people that actually want to come along!

What I have been stressing about though is the logistics. I know God will work it out, but my mind still struggles with the details. I have been reading Ordinary Hero’s blog. They are in Ethiopia now. Reading about their work is making me miss it so much! As I read I think of all the things I can’t wait to do while there… and I have to reign myself in knowing that He’s got a plan. I have been feeling like we have to focus on some specific projects and then try to get to some of the other things. With 20 people we will have to have something to keep everyone busy. We have several builders coming along and I would really like to be able to utilize their skills even if the building there is way different than here.

I can’t wait to see what He does!!! Please continue to pray as there’s still some resistance. It’s hardest kind to deal with because it’s underhanded and sly…not the kind you can directly address. You know how satan is… ;) God’s been giving me continued peace about it though, I know who’s really in charge!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What if?

What if?

The last month or so has been exhausting…

N’s behavior has been challenging to say the least. If there’s a button he will push it, a boundary he will cross it, a rule he will break it and an argument to be had, he will have it. I believe he would argue with a rock!

Nothing we have tried has seemed to work. Just in the last couple of days we have found what we think to be the culprit. Piecing a couple of things together we think we found the reason, so now we have to try to figure out how to help him …and us through it.

It’s really been hard in us all. The thing is that he doesn’t do any of it to be bad. He’s acting out…it’s just so very hard on us all…him included... to work through.

So the other day S was having the ‘what if?’ discussion with a friend of hers…’what if we didn’t have the boys?’ N in particular. I wasn’t pleased to hear it at first, I mean what kind of discussion is that to have about your siblings? But then I heard that she hadn’t started it, and that she came to the conclusion that she would not like to know what life would be like with out either of them. As hard as it’s been in our house over the last couple of months she’s not interested in knowing what it would be like without them in her life.

After speaking to her my mind went there…what WOULD it be like without them? Perhaps we would have more money, more time, less conflict, more quiet time, more date nights…then I stopped and began to think of all the things we would have missed…would be missing.

Things like dimples you could fall into, full body hugs, the constant marvel at how little boy brains work, joyous “Good morning”s and “I love you”’s, funny little faces, cuddle time on the couch watching a movie, splashing in the ocean at the beach, soccer games and games of go fish. I would not have met some of the most important people in my life …my best friend, my soul sister, my adoption mom girls…we would not have family in a country that is now as much a part of my heart as the one we live in.

I would not have thought to lead a mission trip to Ethiopia, or met the people that are now etched in my soul. I would not be working on another trip…praying about even more permanent involvement there.

So we move forward, we keep praying, we keep searching for the ways we can help N cope with the current upset. We keep working towards the goal that will help him be comfortable in his own skin.

So when I think ‘what if?’ … I shudder…

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Loaves and Fishes...

I have been thinking alot about what orphan care looks like lately.

There are obvious adoption...but there are so many other ways as well.

It's not just about caring for the child after he/she becomes the orphan...the goal I think is to stop the reason's there are orphans in the first place. Yes I totally realize that on this side of heaven we will not be able to stop that from happening completely, but we can sure work on making a dent in the issue.

There have been times... and I still have moments where I think the issue is just too large. But then I think of the story of the boy and the star fish.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."
by Loren Eiseley

I look at the eyes of baby Helen's mother and's too large. I think of baby M still waiting for her mommy and daddy and's too big (and God why can't I have her?!). I read stories of children living in a dump scrounging for food to survive and can I possibly make a difference. I look at the face of my stunningly beautiful Bizu whom we sponsor and it enough? I hear stories of babies in orphanages that are left on cribs day after day and can we make a difference?

We do it one at a time.

Have you read about Jesus feeding the 5000? If not check it out here John 6:1-14.

Jesus wasn't surprised that that many people showed up. Can you imagine the thoughts of the disciples though? It's too large, there are too many people, we can't possibly feed all of these people...they even said as much to Jesus. He calmly asked them to find some food, and he would provide. One small boy offered his lunch and became part of a miracle.

That's what He says to us. Find a loaf...look for a fish... I will take care of the rest. Be my hands and feet and I will show you my provision.

The mantra that goes through my head constantly when I think there isn't possibly going to be enough is "Loaves and Fishes...Loaves and Fishes" He will take what each of us does and multiply it, but we must take that first step.

Here's an awesome post about a couple of ways you can help right now: Acts of Kindness

Be a part of Orphan Sunday.

Pray about how you can offer your meal and see how Jesus will multiply that it's bigger than you can imagine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

God's Heart

This picture is one of the many reason's I will be going back to Ethiopia. I didn't think anyone had gotten a picture of this moment... of this time that had me moved for the rest of the trip.

This woman has leprosy. That's her baby...she was one month old. Her name is Helen.

After loading up all of our supplies into the van to deliver to families, this is the first home we stopped to visit. We walked around a corner... where the views were spectacular... to see this tiny little hut. Her husband was sitting outside missing parts of both legs and badly in need of a prostheses. Everyone was standing outside listening to his story when one of the translators stood at the door to their home and asked if anyone would like to meet his wife. I was the first to walk into their home.

It was smaller than my bedroom, maybe 9 x 9, dark, and hotter than hades inside.

These eyes are the first thing I saw. Can you see the despair there? I immediately walked over to her, sat down to put my arms around her. I will admit to a fleeting second of being aware that she had leprosy...but that was only a second compared to the pain I felt in sitting next to her feeling so so helpless.

She understood no English, but I asked if I could pray for her. At this point others had crowded in and we all held hands and prayed over this sister. She has no idea what we said...but I know God heard us. I know He hears her pain....

I asked her how she was feeling. At first she said she was ok... then I said "But you look sad, how can I help you?" To which she simply said "I am sick". Crack...break...splinter...there goes a piece of my heart.

She is but 1.... just 1...of the millions... of reasons I have to go back... I have to... God has opened my eyes and broken my heart and I can do nothing else but go back and do what He asks....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orphan Sunday!!

November 7, 2010

From Christianity Today to Catalyst, God’s call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” is echoing in ways not seen in generations. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to spread this passion as part of a nationwide movement.

Each Orphan Sunday event is led by local Christians committed to the Gospel and the orphan: from Sunday School classes and sermons to student-led fundraisers and foster family recruiting. Here is just one testimony of the thousands of lives that were touched last year by Orphan Sunday...

“Orphan Sunday at Morningside Baptist in Sioux City, IA not only became a catalyst for us to launch an orphan ministry—including a new adoption and orphan care fund—but also spurred many church members to consider adoption, including a church elder whose family will be adopting in 2010 as a result.” --Jim Reynolds, Church Elder

Hear the personal story of a family changed forever through Orphan Sunday 2009!

Get Started Now...

Event Ideas
Partnership Opportunities
Bible Studies
Sermon Notes
Sunday School Lessons
Posters and Flyers
and more...!

What is Orphan Sunday?

Alongside local events, a national concert featuring The Desperation Band will be simulcast live from Colorado Springs to high school and college groups nationwide on the Friday of Orphan Sunday weekend.

The 2010 campaign aims for more than 2,000 events across America the weekend of November 7th. The ultimate goal: to call Christians to make the Gospel visible in adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry. Start planning your Orphan Sunday event today!

Don't forget to put your Orphan Sunday event on the map!

Visit us at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plans are coming together!

Well, we are now in full swing...gathering people and information for the mission trip! That's so very exciting.

The more we share about it, the more people want to come along. That too is SO very exciting! Perhaps I will quit my day job and just plan mission trips to Ethiopia?... not yet. :)

People from all over are stepping up asking about the trip. We are working on trying to make sure we have the dates set and the info together to see what we can do to have all the people that want to go...go. :)

The boys have been asking about it. I am looking forward to the day that we can take them with us. How cool will it be to be able to take them back to the country that gifted them to us?!

Please pray for our team as we form, for Tim and I as we lead again, for the families of the team that commits and the details to be God-led and glorifying!

As this ramps up has everything else in please pray that my getting older brain holds all the right stuff...and gets rid of the stuff it doesn't need.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creative Juices Flowing...

There have been alot of fun projects happening around the house lately!
E-man got a piggy bank that needed painting for his birthday so we set he and N up in the garage (the paint is not washable) and let them paint. N had a project that has been sitting around so he got to paint his too. It was fun to watch them decide on colors and placement of that color. Such great little imaginations!

Not such a great pic of E man, but I had to show a bit of his color scheme. :o)

Mom and I have been busy working on our venture together as well. We are starting SonShineGall-ery Designs. Our first project is an Up-Cycle (instead of recycle) project. Finding old vintage plates and bases and putting them together to make cake plates, candy and sweets bowls, soap dishes...whatever your heart desires.
Here are a few examples....

How cute are these guys?!

I painted these last 2. I have a WHOLE lot to learn about painting before I do a ton more, but these were fun to make.
Each plate has a base that is under it, just didn't want to load this post down with too many of pics. We are still working on the pricing plan, but we are thinking $15 - 20 for the smaller ones and $20-25 for the bigger ones. We are also planning on choosing a cause to donate money to each month, an adoption fund, or other fundraiser and a percentage of any profit made will go to that cause. We are still determining the amount and the first cause. But we are excited about this. It's SO much fun to do and they are a blast to make...choosing just the right plate and base combo is a ton of fun!

We are going to use this as a major fundraiser for ourselves as well for the mission trip. Mom has made a table cloth and skirt and we will have matching aprons so when we go to craft shows we can look all cute and sassy. :o)

D has also started making Corn Hole boards... I think they are called bean bag games elsewhere. He's such a handy guy! He's making these for fun, as a bit of extra income, and he's also going to use most of the money as a fundraiser for the mission trip.

The wood is cabinet grade so it's really nice wood. He's still working on his price point as well, but will probably sell them for 80- 95 per set. The wood is actually pretty expensive, and that price is less than most places sell them for. I may end up painting them custom colors, cause he doesn't want to but we have had some people already ask for specific school and / or team colors. So looks like I will be painting colors. :o)

So we have added some projects to our already busy schedule... pray for us! :o)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So much happening...

It's been a busy summer already, and it's only July 10th. Goodness!

I tell you what, summer is the time of year when I really wish I was a stay at home mom so that I could play with my kids outside. This summer we are doing a tag team effort in keeping them busy. S keeps them on Monday and Wednesday, my mom and mom in law keep them on alternating Tues and Thursday, and N's regular sitter keeps them on Friday. Gives them variety... and saves us a boat load of money! The summer care was going to be 220.00 per week... ouch! So we have pared it down to about 50.00 a week this way. It also gives every one a chance to play, but also gives the grandma's a break since watching 2 very active boys is tiring.

Vacation Bible school is coming soon, I think the boys could use some play with other

S is working on most of the days she's not watching the boys, but she works at the beach, and usually with her best friends so it's not really like work. :) Then she's out most nights. We do keep a limit and a time's a balance thing that we are still working on since she got her license and a job... gosh they grow up too quickly!

The mission trip planning is going strong. Last night D and I figured we have about 15 people so far, and that does not include the senior high youth that may be coming. This is going to be a huge trip! Woo hoo!! Praying for the Lords direction and discernment.

We have had a bit of opposition this time from a key member in the church, it's been tough because I have not been able to figure out the issue. The blessing is that our associate pastor is fully on board with the trip, so he's helped smooth things beautifully. Thank you God for his leadership and care. Pray with me for this key member, and our dealings together. I want to act, and react with God's grace and love. I am so very excited about the team and all that will be happening this time! Can't WAIT! It's hard to believe it's still a year away... I don't want to rush the year, but man I sure miss Ethiopia!

My dad is leaving today for Mississippi on a mission trip with his church. It's kind of a big deal for him. Pray for him and those he will be working with...he's not the easiest guy to get along I pray God's full anointing on him and the team.

Mom will be traveling back and forth to my grandparents house in PA frequently as their health is failing and they still live alone. It's a hard place to be when you can care for your self in most areas, but just need that little bit of help to get through each day.

I will leave you with one more prayer request. My baby M still does not have a family waiting for her. Please pray for the right family step forward to love her. I got a report that she's growing and gaining weight. That's a huge praise! I can't wait to hear that she has a family too!

Hope your summer is good and you are enjoying time with family.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I read a FB status today that said: “What if f**ebook could automatically record your thoughts and post them?”

To which I immediately cringed and thought… NO WAY! Does that make anyone else just shiver?

I will be the first to admit that I constantly work on 2 Cor 10:5 ‘Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ (I have this verse taped to my computer at work) I don’t always think the best of people right way, I am not always forgiving at first, I can be judgemental and ugly especially on those weeks when hormones are in full swing. Oh Lord, I would need some kind of thought helmet to block those thoughts from getting out on FB.(think helmet of salvation with a face plate so that words uttered were not released) I am generally in a week’s worth of repentance after a week’s worth of hormones. Anyone relate?

These aren’t qualities I am proud of for sure! But the good news is that I am getting so much better at capturing the thoughts. I don’t always catch them… I don’t always keep them to myself…but I have found that if I give myself time to pray and talk to God about an issue first, that He always shows me another side. He shows me that there are always 2 sides, and that I am far from perfect myself, so I need to cut people some slack. :) Works pretty much every time. :)

I have had a situation in the past couple of weeks that has required me to really pray, and ponder my responses before actually responding. I have found that I am much better at finding a way to respond with Grace and Forgiveness. I am trusting that God will work things out in the end. He always does.

‘Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.’ Eph 3:20

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priceless, by Tom Davis

Well, Tom Davis has done it again.

He's written a book that has opened my eyes with God sized toothpicks, and I will never be able to close them again.

I had a love hate relationship with the book Scared, that he wrote a couple of yrs ago. I fell in love with the characters. I loved how he addressed the relationships, both the good and the bad, and then Christ's hand in it all.

I mourned for Adanna and the pain of the people in all of Africa. I could also relate to Stuart and his struggles. I really liked him alot.

I was glad to meet Stuart again in this book. To see what had been happening in his life, to catch up.

Tom has a way of pulling you right into the story, into the lives of the people, and making them part of your life. Having been in an orphanage, I could feel Marina's pain, and Stuart's pull towards her. I understood his feeling of responsibility, yet inability to make a change.

I had no real idea of the severity of this issue. I mean I guess I knew, but didn't realize the scale. I didn't realize some of the true evil that permeates the lives of these children. I was sickened by the ways trust was built and then betrayed, I found myself cringing at the ways that the church was used as a means to promote this industry.

All things one doesn't want to believe happens...yet it does.

I have a 16 year old daughter... about Marina's age. I can not fathom her having to deal with the things girls her age and younger have to go through.

This book will open your eyes, make you fall in love, make you furious, make you want to cry...make you want to kick satan's butt!

There is intrigue, mystery, the battle between good and evil know who wins...but you also know who has to be His hands and feet in order to make that happen.

I am sure it was a hard book to write, as the material he had to work from is not G rated, yet Tom writes with conviction, truth, love and power. While keeping the dignity of the girls portrayed in the book.

This isn't a book for light reading, but I dare you to read it and not want to take action. The word needs to get out about this crime. People need to step up and take action. I think that's the thing that made me the most mad. The people in authority, both in the church as well as police and others that do nothing while this happens.

We have to be the voice for children all over the world even in our back yards.

To learn more about the book, or how you can help make a difference, visit the website at

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We are Family...and friends!

The family reunion was great fun! We stayed at a place called Oglebay Resort in WV. It's a beautiful area and resort, but way pricey. And your cabin fee gets you no discount or admittance to any of the amenities other than the pool. Even had to pay for the trolley to get you around the place. Kinda crazy. Other than that, we could not have asked for more beautiful weather!! It was actually chilly in the mornings and after having just been through temps in the 100's at home, it was so very pleasant.

Here are some of the fun activities we did...
We swam indoors.
Colored on walls
Hung out with uncles.
Even uncles all the way from Chili.
Ate at tiny tables (I could not get my cousin to give me a straight smile to save my life!)
We went fishing. I baited my own hook! It turns out I am not very good at it. The whole squirming while piercing it's body just had me all weirded out. I know... I am such a girl. :o)
Pedal boating.
Hey caught one!

Went to the zoo on premises.

Ate alot.
Does your family do this stuff after dinner?

Gathered to talk and look at pics of the family from days gone by.
Played with bubbles!!

They're a little messy!
Swam some more.
Wore cool hats.
Met up with really great friends! These guys moved to WV a few years ago, so when we knew we were going to be near by we decided to get together. It was great fun to hang out for the day. And of course I got me some baby lovin in.
We had a huge family dinner. There were 77 of us at dinner. Sad part was that since there had not been a gathering place prior to the big dinner on the last night, we didn't know we were playing near family one of the days. Would have been fun to have been able to connect other than at the dinner.
Had to share this one, makes me crack up. He did this face on purpose... no clue
Sibling love.
THEN! We got to hang out with these guys for a bit on our way home!! We met Aaron and his wife while we were in Ethiopia picking up E. We only spent a short time together, but just kind of clicked. We ended up experiencing some significant health issues at the same time with our boys. We have kept in touch since then. So since we were going to be traveling near them, we knew we had to try to get together. The boys hit it off immediately. It was so sweet! So wish we lived closer, it would be amazing to be able to get the boys together to play more often. Plus Aaron and Marjorie are great people, would love to spend more time with them!
Thanks for taking the time to meet with us! See you soon!!
How cute are they??!!

S and Marjorie
All of us together. D is so jealous of Aaron's facial Both S and E wanted to bring the baby E kept saying on the way home, "Him cute! Me want that baby. Him cute"

Well you survived the family reunion... thanks for visiting. Read a great book while in the van... I will share more about it soon.

Have a great day!