Thursday, September 29, 2011

Choosing to host...

People make choices every single day.  Some are small... like what you are going to wear, what you are going to eat, what you are going to listen to in the car.  Then there are times when you make bigger decisions... decisions like where you are going to worship, where you are going on vacation, where you are going to live.  Then there are extra moments when you make choices that affect the kingdom of God.  Choices that bring to life how Christ has triumphed over Satan.  Choices like praying over a friend or your child, being obedient to the whisper of the Holy Spirit, taking the time to talk to an elderly person who wants to talk to you in the grocery store, baking muffins for your neighbor who lives alone, and choosing obedience to God no matter the cost.

And then there is the decision to host a child.  This decision splits the spiritual realm into pieces.  Legions of Satan's warriors are affected and legions of God's heavenly angels rejoice when a child... an orphan is rescued, loved, and introduced to Christ.

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."  James 1:27~

If God views visiting orphans this highly... what does He think about bringing them home to love them in His love?  Can you imagine?

Their little faces watch as she drives away... and their hands wave... and their hearts wonder... do they dare to hope?  They have been discarded.  They have been abandoned.  They have lost family.  They have lost home.  They have lost almost everything.  And they wait... and wait... and wait.  Do they dare hope?

1. What does hosting mean?  Hosting means having the child stay with you and your family for the host period.  It is for 5 weeks in the summer hosting and for 4 weeks in the winter hosting.  You are not committing to adopting them.  You are only hosting.  If you decide you want to the adopt them, the adoption process is much easier since you have hosted.
2. How much does it cost?  It costs $2500 per child to host.  This pays for the paperwork involved and the airline ticket to fly them over.  It is tax deductable.
3. I don't have the that much money.  Great!  Then that gives God the opportunity to show off and provide it for you!  I have seen this over and over and over again and it never gets old!  Allowing God to opportunity to provide only adds to your amazing story of what you are/God is doing in this child's life!  You will be blown away with how quickly people/friends want to be a part of something like this and start giving you the money and other items needed.  It is a very beautiful part of the process!
4. I could never send them back.  Yes-you-can.  You won't have a choice!  And in all honesty, it is better for the child to go back as they will need to have some closure.  If you have decided not to adopt them, they may be given another opportunity to be hosted.  You then can become that child's personal advocate and be a part of the puzzle that God uses to find their forever family.  If you have decided you want to adopt them, then you are FUELED by the separation to fly through the paperwork and that child can go back to see his/her friends again, wrap their brain around having a new family, and be ready to come back forever.
5. We don't really think we want to adopt.  That's ok.  Hosting does not mean you will adopt.  Someone you know may meet them while they are here and decide to adopt them.  We have hosted three times and adopted one of those three.  The first child was adopted by a family who met her while she was with us (we were obedient to God's call to host even though we were in the adoption process for another child).  The second child we hosted was our daughter!  And the third child we hosted (again out of obedience to God's prompting in our hearts) is in the process of being adopted by another family who didn't host at all!  The family who hosted his brother was also obedient to God's tug amidst all kinds of reasons why they shouldn't.  And then one of their friends is adopting both boys!  How cool is that!  GOD DID THAT!
6. What will we do while they are here?  Just be yourself!  Some families feel the need to run all over the place and show everything they can to this child.  This really can overload them and leave them with unrealistic expectations.  When we hosted our daughter, her favorite thing to do was have family movie night in front of the fire with candles and popcorn!  She would jump up and down with delight when we did this.  We crafted.  We played games.  We visited friends.  We did what we normally do.  The only big thing we did was take her to the aquarium.  And she still liked family movie night better!
7. How do I find out more?  Go to and complete the pre-registration to view the complete photolisting of the children available this winter.  THIS DOES NOT OBLIGATE YOU TO HOST.  For protection of the children, the photolisting is not available to the public without pre-registering.  I am also available for questions and to share our personal experience with hosting!

This is like bringing the misson field into your home... to your family.  It will change a life.  It will change a generation.  It can save a soul.  It will transform you... and so many others around you. 

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."  John 14:18~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quiet Time Reflection

He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." (4)

into the deep... how often are we called into the deep by Christ...?

But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net." (5)

"But"... how many times do we respond to God's word, to His promptings, to His commandments with a "but..." 

"we have toiled"... we...we on our own... we with our own plan... we in our own time... we in our own way...  we toil and catch nothing.

"nevertheless"... what a word... nevertheless... it goes deeper than "anyway"... it screams reluctance but at the same time bends in obedience.  What a human word... nevertheless.

"at Your word I will".  What a prize awaits you when at the word of God you respond with "I will."  It is the essence of what our life should be... "Lord, at Your word, I will."

And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking. (6)
When Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." (8)

And when they had done this... they caught.  And when they did what Jesus told them to do... He provided.  And when they did what Jesus told them to do... THEN Jesus provided.  He didn't just provide, it was overflowing... it was in abundance!  And when they did what Jesus told them to do... THEN Jesus had the opportunity to do what He does best... BE JESUS for them.  Do we let Jesus do what He wants to do in our lives... or do we reject His call and offer and stick to OUR effort, OUR plan, and OUR way?

WHEN Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees and recognized Him as Lord!  WHEN Peter heard Jesus, DID what He told Him to do, SAW Jesus do His thing, He THEN SAW JESUS!

So when they brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. (11)

After Jesus just overloaded their nets (they were fishermen... it was their career... their food, their income... their provision)... they brought their boats ashore and walked away from it all for Jesus... to follow Jesus.  They walked away from their friends, from their boats, from their homes, from their possessions... they forsook all and followed Him.  Wow.  This just sat all over me this morning.  How eager are we to forsake all for Jesus?  How eager are we to forsake all to follow Jesus... to obey Him... to go where He brings you and to go when He calls?

Sometimes I jump up and run at His call.  Other times I wait to see if He will repeat it?  And more than that, I can dig in my heels and say no.  Oh how I miss HIM and what He does best when I do that.  When I cling to my knowledge and my ideas and my plans and my thoughts and desires and fears.

I want to always chose to forsake all and follow Jesus.  I don't want to miss any opportunity to see Him and what He does best.

"Trust the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and HE SHALL DIRECT YOUR PATHS."  Proverbs 3:5~

passage from Luke 5~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Bunch of Randoms

My mom is coming this weekend!  She really just makes it about once a year and so it is a big deal to me when she comes.  And she is better than Martha Stewart at all she does and so spots on my carpet suddenly jump out at me when she is approaching as does my shabby front door wreath and piles of "to do's"!
Her entire house always looks like a magazine as well.  And that is normal for her.  My house... ughh.. ummm... Does Not.  Tomorrow will be B-U-S-Y.  LOL  I can't wait to laugh with her... we laugh a lot when we are together... and I love that. :0)

I stumbled upon some old pictures tonight.  Isn't this amazing? Yes.  I do think so.  And I made it.  And sold it.  I am SO SAD as I come to a big realization that I kept NOTHING wonderful that I made!!!!

I didn't keep one of these either.... sigh...

or these... bigger sigh.  I am really feeling sad about not having any of my cool jewlery tonight.  I just might have to make some this Fall.  :0)

And this old picture of Abby sleeping on my chest on one of our old back decks!  She was so little.  My heart hurts sometimes when I see these pictures of how little she was.  :0(  She is growing so quickly and I feel I did so much wrong with her... how I wish I could go back and do some things better.  :0(

And lastly... these.  Ughhh.  I miss these more than the tree!~ 
 If you are not aware, we don't celebrate Christmas anymore.  Last year was our first non-Christmas year and I just left everything up in the attic.  I was fine skipping the holiday but getting rid of stuff was a bit harder.  When I ran across this picture, I realized that these are up there and that I could offer to sell them and donate the money to friends who are hosting and hoping to adopt two little girls from Latvia this winter.  So... they are for sale for $125.  They were $25 each and have been used two times I think... two or three.  They are all perfect and the money is for a GREAT cause. 

I am off to bed.  Exhausted and need to be renewed.

Post Edit~ My husband is confused so I thought I would clarify about the stockings.  Yes, I would like $125... not just for the stockings... but for the hosting and hopefully adoption of two precious girls from Latvia.  I am trying to help a friend raise $5,000.  So I know it is $25 more than I paid... I am thinking of it as a donation to changing two girls lives and the stockings are the "free gift" for donating!  Actually, in all fairness, I got them from one of the stores that sold my jewelry.  The owner gave them to me for trade in jewelry!!  HA  LOL  Hope that clarifies things. :0)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You Are Loved

Seems like such a simple statement.  Yet for some... it is unknown.

I have been working on the photolisting for orphans in Latvia who are available for winter hosting.
It should have put me in bed for a week.

Photo, after photo, after photo of precious faces who feel nothing of the above. 
Then came the spreadsheet with their "story".

Child #1- Sweet young boy with sibling sister.  Been in orphanage for almost one year.  Parents alcoholic and aggressive.  This young man tried to "save his family" but couldn't.  Close to his sister.  Leaves her gifts on her bed.

Child #2- Very creative and kind hearted young girl with sibling younger sister.  Feels it's her fault they are not being adopted. (Because she is older) Loves to cut her doll's hair, sing and dance.  Very close to sister.  So badly wants a family.

Child #3- Sent to institution due to some mild developmental delays.  Brother was adopted to France but they did not want him.  He cries for his brother.  New foster mother has taught him to read and write in one year.  He loves to help.  He is very kind and sweet.

And it went on and on and on and on.  Face after face of children who have been discarded like an old... whatever.  Children that have simply... not so simply... been discarded.  Children that wait and hope... that someone might want them.  Children that the Father created and we are CALLED/COMMANDED to take care of... to rescue... to love and to care for.

My heart aches with deep pain as this whole alter world goes on day after day and so many turn a blind eye.  We are too busy.  We have enough children.  We could never do all the paperwork.  We could never afford it.  It might complicate things.  It's great... but not for me.

I praise and thank God that He was not too busy up there in heaven dealing with the whole universe and Satan and his cronies to take care of me... to adopt me and be there every time I call His name.

I praise and thank God He didn't look at Israel and say, "I have enough to deal with."

I praise and thank God that He thought there was no price too high to be paid for my soul.

And I praise and thank Him from the bottom of my soul that even though I fail, sin, fall away, slack off, and disappoint Him... that even though I can complicate things... He came after me anyway.

Tom Davis, with Children's Hope Chest, has said a quote that haunts me and is burned on my brain, heart, and soul... "We live like we are on vacation when we should be living like we are at war."

This is not a vacation.  And it's not about our comfort.  We are in the THROWS of an all out WAR.  And these children sit and wait...

they wait for us.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Weekend Away... Alone

Thanks to very sweet and generous friends who watched our chillies... we slipped away this weekend to the lakehouse for a restful weekend.

It was wonderful.  It was yummy.  It was quiet.

It was beautiful.  It was fun.

It was a blessing.  And we must, must, must do it again and again and again!

(notes to self: get some color on your lips... never wear this shirt again... get a hairdo... use your eyecream!... sit up straight and slap yourself in the face a couple times and perk up for your photo! Seriously.)

Monday, September 12, 2011


I had all intentions of posting about my fabulous chalkboard wall today and dedicating it to my cousin Candi!  But as I started downloading those pictures, I was overcome with this post and when it downloads into my heart and mind in such rapid fashion... I know it is inspired and so I am going to be obedient and public today with a love note.  It is a love note to my husband.  But at the same time, it is a plea for marriages and for hurting spouses... hurting wives and hurting husbands.

Marriage is one of the top targets for the enemy... for Satan and his army of darkness.  When a marriage falls apart... ALL are wounded and Satan and his soldiers celebrate and gloat over their victory.  When a marriage falls apart... a family is torn apart.  Children are deeply wounded.  Family is deeply wounded.  And as marriage mirrors the relationship of Christ with His bride... Christ, the Father, the Holy Spirit and the angels of heaven are deeply saddened.  THIS is what Satan wants.  He wants to cause pain in the heavenly realm and he uses us as the tool to do it.  We can become his pawns as he attacks us with lies, addiction, temptation, and distraction. 

Every time I see my family picture, I am so humbled... and thankful.  I could have missed thisHad I continued to listen to the lies of the enemy... I could have missed this.  Had I walked away/ran away from my marriage... like I wanted to at one time... I could have missed this.  My heart breaks at just the thought of it.

There was a time when I was convinced that my husband did not and could not love me.  There was a time when I was convinced that I did not love him.  I could not have the feelings I was having if I loved him.  And there was a time I was convinced there was someone out there who would love me how I longed to be loved, how I wanted to be loved, how I deserved to be love.


Total and complete lies. 

Satan had used an arsenal of weapons to set the stage to ensnare me in this trap.  Tools and lies that he started binding around me as a child!  Tools and lies that he continued to bind around me while I dated... when I met and dated Don... during our very long dating period... and right into our marriage.

Our relationship was not founded on the love and truth of God.  There is mistake number one.  THIS gave the stage right to the enemy to start working with.  I was a wounded girl looking to be wanted, loved, protected, and fought for.  I was a wounded girl looking for a man to deem me worthy enough to love.  And I did what I could to be worthy of that love.  And when I felt like he was pulling away, I listened to the lies that it was because I wasn't good enough... and I tried even harder to be what I thought he wanted me to be.




Never will work.

As I twisted into more anger as my efforts were not being rewarded, bitterness and self righteousness took root... and it dug deep.

Abby's illness was yet another tool Satan used.  We fought about huge decisions that would affect her.  I became frantic.  I hit the wall.

I wanted out.

And I told him so.

The sorrow that fills me when I think of how self-destructive I was at that time is huge.  O-U-T was all I could think about.  And then I used that to suffocate anything positive that rose to the surface and kicked it back down.

I was driving to a friend's house one day when it hit me in the car.  I-just-told-my-husband-I-want-out.  The Lord so graciously gave me eyes and ears to hear it in reverse.  And He opened my eyes to see my husband with His eyes.  Broken.  Afraid.  Hurt.  Angry.  Wounded.  Just-like-me.  And I sobbed.

I knew that if I left the marriage it would not be in obedience to God's word... to His will... to His commands about marriage.  So I clung to my desire to be obedient to God.  My prayers became constant but simple.  "Give me eyes to see him as You see him."  "Give me the strength and courage to love him like You want him to be loved."  "Let Your love for him overflow out of me."  "Heal me, heal him, heal us."

And in time, walking in constant prayer and communion with the Lord, we began to heal.

It was not overnight.

I had to fight.  Fight for truth.  Fight for my heart.  Fight for my family.  Fight for my marriage.  Fight for my husband.  Fight to silence the lies. Fight to replace them with God's word.  Fight to take every thought captive.  Fight to learn how to LOVE.  It is a VERB.  IT IS NOT A FEELING.  Satan gets most people right there.  LOVE is not a feeling.  It is an active verb that should never have ending.  LOVE is also a NOUN... something that is shared, something that grows, and something that overflows and remains.  But without the VERB... there is no NOUN.

I came before the Lord for my own healing.  My eyes were opened.  I was looking to my husband for things he was not responsible for giving me.  I was placing demands on him that were impossible.  I was looking to him and making him an idol instead of looking to God and God alone.  I was not forgiving him.  And I was FAILING BIG TIME.  By focusing on my own pain, my own needs, and my own disappointment... (selfishness) I was not doing doing what God wanted me to do AT ALL.

God uses a husband and wife to love them in the physical person.  It is such a gift.  When I hug my husband, the Lord wraps His arms around him through me.  When my husband reaches over and touches me, the Lord touches me through Him.  When my husband embraces me in his arms, the Lord embraces me through Him.  When I speak words of affirmation and encouragement to my husband, the Lord encourages him through me.  It is one mighty task to take someone in marriage and take on the privilege of being God's love to them in the flesh.  One should NEVER take that for granted. 

Marriage is not to make you happy!  The author of "Sacred Marriage," Gary Thomas, speaks great truths about what marriage is.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to every married person alive!  Here are just a few things from this book:

"If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me happy, then I'd have to get a new marriage very two to three years."

"Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value."

"Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet.  Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another's glory or toward degrading each other." (Dan Allender and Trempter Longman III)

"The beauty of Christianity is in learning to love, and few life situations test that so radically as does a marriage."

"Contempt is conceived with expectations.  Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude."

"Marriage virtually forces us into the intense act of reconciliation."

"What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin."

"Don't give in to the temptation to resent your partner as your own weaknesses are revealed." 

"The mature response, however, is not to leave; it's to change-- ourselves."

"That's the beauty of doing things God's way.  Even when we're sinned against, we can grow through the experience by the grace of God."

"Merely being faithful to your spouse is quite a testimony in this society.  But as you go beyond that to communicative love for your spouse in a consistent, creative, and uninhibited way, the world can't help but notice.  God will be honored." (Gary and Betsy Ricucci)

While God worked on me, I was blown away by what I began to see.

I began to see more and more of my own sin.  And I began to see his love.  And it was unconditional.  It was wounded... but it was willing.  It was sweet and it was deep. 

As I think about my husband's love for me today, I am almost moved to tears.  He loves me better and more than I could have ever thought possible... more than I could have hoped for... and it moves me... and it grounds me.  And I KNOW it is a gift from the Lord.  I KNOW it is a blessing from our obedience to Him.
He loves me despite myself.  He loves me despite my wounds and weakness.  Actually, I think he loves me more for it, not in spite of it.  It is a love that wraps me in trust.  It is a reflection of God's love for me.  And he does it so well.  I am so humbled.  I am so thankful.


To my precious husband... I am so very thankful for your love and forgiveness. I love the way you love me. You amaze me over and over. I am so very blessed to share this life with you. The love in your eyes for me humbles me to my knees.  And no matter what happens... I will be just fine... because I will be with you and we will be with the LORD. You are such a man of great character and integrity. Your heart for others overflows with generousity. Your love for our family overflows onto all of us. You are who God created you to be and I praise Him for having His hand on you. You amaze me deeply. I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am so very thankful. I love you crazy.

We are walking a path of uncertainty with his job right now.  Southwest Airlines is merging with AirTran (the company he flies for) and uncertainty in big ways lie ahead.  And it doesn't look good.  I had peace about the whole thing until a few weeks ago when I felt my husband and his fellow pilots were very wronged.  My peace went down the drain and I was ready to jump on a plane and find the CEO of Southwest and have a talk!  

But my husband, is unmoved.  He is being wronged, yet he speaks not an ill word.  He comforts me and assures me all will be ok.  He holds me as my flesh wages against the peace and he comforts me.  And I believe him.

He doesn't care that his pay is going to be greatly decreased.  He doesn't care that we may have to move.  He doesn't care he will be bumped out of his captain seat and become first officer again.  He doesn't care he will lose much seniority with the company. 

All he cares about is that we will be together and that God is in control.

It is one of his finest moments.  I could not love him more.  I could not be more secure.  I could not feel more loved.  He has amazed me... and continues to.  God's hand on him romances me like nothing else.  He is my hero.  And I am so lucky. 

God is the redeemer of broken things.  I know many marriages that are hanging on a cliff of destruction right now.  Marriages that are close to me.  Wives who don't want to love anymore because of how they feel.  Husbands who are not fighting like the warriors God has created them to be.  Wives who are wanting out.  Husbands who are walking away.  Wives and husbands who are focusing on self instead of serving and loving the other.  It is so sad.  I do not sit in judgment, I was once there, but in sadness.

If this speaks to you, I challenge you to GIVE LOVE no matter how you are feeling.  Today.  Right now.  Fight.

Wives- touch your husband, hug him, love him... no matter how you are feeling.  Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive. No matter how you feel.  Silence lies from the enemy.  Speak truth over your marriage.  And stay at the Father's feet.  Look for ways to love your husband, not avoid him.  Don't you realize that avoiding him is exactly what the enemy wants you to do?  Do you know what could happen if you approach him in love?  Mountains would be moved.  Make him a priority.  Healing could surface and restoration could begin. Pray for God to show you how to love him.

Husbands- listen to your wife and romance her.  Reach out to her.  And if you are rejected, do it again... and again... and again.  Pray for her.  Speak words of love and affirmation to her.  Serve her.  Make time for her.  Make her a priority.  FIGHT FOR HER.  Ask God how you can be love to her.  Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive.

Do not give Satan a foothold in your marriage.  If you are not actively loving your spouse, you are opening the door to the enemy and inviting him inside.  No excuses.  If you are not actively loving your spouse, you are not pleasing the Lord.  FIGHT by surrendering to the LORD and be obedient.  Obedience is actively loving and forgiving.  Not co-existing.

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." 2 Thessalonians 3:5~

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I AM NOTHING.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails."

I Corinthians 13: 1-8~

Marriage doesn't make you happy.  But the joy that overflows from a marriage in God's hands and is focused on Him brings happiness that deeply delights the soul! 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Words that fall and soak in...

"The extent of prayer in one's life is a direct function of whether something else has been set up as more important than God."  Ann Voskamp, at

Wow.  Ann speaks words of the Lord over me all the time and she doesn't even know me.
God uses Ann to speak to the deep parts in my heart and His timing is most often spot on.

Last night, as I settled into bed in the coolness of night, I started to pray.  And within moments my spirit asked me, "Why have you waited until just now to come into His presence?"  I was saddened that I had been BUSY all day with my own agenda.  I was driven to get a project done.  And I did get it done.  And I LOVE it.  But I never once spoke with Him while I worked on it.  I never once felt the pull to pause and be with Him.  And THAT is what saddens me so.  How the "busy-ness" of the day can consume me so easily and quickly.

I had stopped and sat on the sofa and prayed with Taylor in the early evening.  Bless her heart.  School is so much work for her right now and I see her heart really taking a beating.  After leaving for school at 7:50 a.m. and working all day at school, she comes home at 3:45 p.m. just to have a 30 minute break with a show and snack and then retreats to her room or the table to start working on it again.  And she has been spending at least 2 to 3 hours each afternoon doing homework.  With one chore, dinner, and a shower... there is no time for anything else.  She doesn't like it.  She is exhausted.  "What is this?" she asks.  "What kind of life is this?"  And I responded with, "The life of a child."  Really.  Really?  Am I going to just fall into that idea of the world that THIS is what life is for her right now?  As the words slipped out of my mouth so easily and my heart stung with the sting of them, they didn't sound right.  And I am not buying them.  And I pray she doesn't either.

So we sat on the sofa and prayed.  We prayed for her heart and for her mind.  We thanked God He gave her a mind that can learn so easily.  We thanked God for her heart that is willing and kind and loving and sweet.  We prayed that she knows who she is, who she really is, and that it has nothing to do with how she takes a  test and if she can remember LCF and GCM in math.  We prayed God would recall what she had learned for her test today and that He would refresh her soul.  And then we held each other.

And as I lied there in bed, wanting to find the Father's presence for a moment... I realized it was the first time I had sought Him... for me... for us... all day long.  He came at the end.  Sorrow.  And yet He was there.  Waiting.  Ever so waiting.  And He took me in... and I am ever so thankful.  Thankfulness.  Conviction.

"It's my own inflated sense of self-importance, the elevation of my work, my agenda, that keeps me from prayer- communion."  Ann Voskamp

The words soak in.  They penetrate deep. 
Truth can sometimes hurt. 
But truth always brings light... growth and freedom. 

Now what do I do? 
With these words?
 Do I let them evaporate away in the heat of the day? 
 Or do I let them quench the thirst of my soul and bring me life?
"O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
where there is no water.
So I have looked to You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name."

Psalm 63:1-4~

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Change is in the air

I love, love, love this time of year.  There is something so dramatic about the transition to Fall.  It lures me in with excitement and anticipation year after year after year.  It never gets old.  It is never the same.  And it always blesses me in so many ways.

How beautiful that the transitions of seasons in weather mirror our own transitions in life.  How beautiful God knew we needed them.  And how beautiful that His creative handiwork is out full force with the arrival of Fall.

I love to "nest" this time of year.  Things go from fresh and bright to warm and cozy!  Fresh and bright is good but I am always ready for the arrival of warm and cozy.  They invite me to slow down, nestle deep in the covers, and slide into layers of clothing.  They suggest I sit outside by the fire and roast marshmellows.  And I happily take them up on their suggestion.  They boast about their leafy friends who dance in the air and ride the wings of the wind.  And that smell... that amazing smell that makes me want to be home... the smell of smoke findning it's way out of sleepy chimneys!

I saw this the other day and sighed... oh how I wish my entry looked as inviting as this place!
I have ideas... and I will be freshening my door wreath soon!

And I have plans for mason jars and candles... and candy corn with peanuts for snacking.
Praise Him.  Fall has almost arrived!  And I can't wait to breath her in!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Friendly Captivity

Beth Moore has a Bible study entitled, "Daniel".  It is one of the most powerful studies I have ever done.  It brings the biblical Babylon right up to modern day Babylon and one of the terms she used that stuck with me was "friendly captivity".  It's when the enemy makes evil look "not so bad" and we are quickly and way too easily ensnared into darkness and sin.  Television shows make hopping in bed with people look "not so bad".  Television commercials make sinful lifestyles look "not so bad".  Music we listen to makes sinful choices and acts sound... "not so bad".  Magazines make clothing that is hardly there look... "not so bad".  It is never ending.  And Satan wants evil to look sweet, cute, friendly.  And that brings me to this post.  It may not be popular, but I can not avoid it.

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs and she is already all into Halloween.  I am amazed and just dumb founded at how Halloween is the favorite holiday of many people... and many Christians.  I saw this picture on her site.  The word "Wicked" is made into a beautiful banner and it is draping the mantel of a home.  This is friendly captivity to the fullest and it breaks my heart at how veiled so many people's eyes, minds, and hearts are to this horrible deception.  Really?  You are inviting wickedness into your home and trying to make it pretty?  Would you make a banner out of the word "Satan"... or "Murder"... or "Kill"... or "darkness" and place it as one of the focal pieces in your home?

Halloween is a day of wickedness and a day that celebrates darkness, death, witchcraft, and evil.  How in the world have we been so blinded and have tried to play with fire by fluffing it up with trick or treating and beautiful decorating.  As children of God we are called to be holy and separate.  Darkness can not coexist with light.  Period.  It is that simple.  People can not dress up their children like vampires and demons or other horror characters and shine the light of Christ.  We have been deceived and for a great reason.  By making evil look cute and harmless... we are less likely to be on guard to resist it... and THIS is the goal of the enemy all day long.  To make himself look harmless and to get us to drop our guard.  Evil and Wicked are real and they attack Christians constantly.  They are all out to destroy our families, our children, our marriages, our churches, our relationships with God, our very hearts and lives. 

We used to celebrate Halloween in the non-evil way.  HA.  I have to laugh just thinking about it.  Our children could dress up by not as anything scary or evil... just the cute stuff.  Then my eyes were opened to the real meaning of Halloween, what happens all over the world on this night, and I was convicted to the core not to be any part of it.  Holiness can not dabble in darkness without being contaminated.  I realized that I had fallen victim to friendly captivity and was trying to fluff and beautify something that was dark and evil.

I know not everyone will agree with this and I am not here to convince anyone of anything.  But I am called to share the truth and I will do so and leave it at that.  We are called to be above this stuff.  We are called to have nothing to do with darkness.  We are called to resist evil... not beautify it.  I pray this makes you question where the holiday came from, what it signifies, question if it glorifies God in any way, and see what God shows you.  Halloween is not cute.  It is not fun.  It is the personification of the wolf in sheep's clothing... and it breaks my heart. 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Back to Africa...

It has been so hard to get back to Africa... to Uganda... to Adacar... to the kids and the stories.  Coming home from the trip to a host child and then getting a second host child and then trying to get life back to some sort of normal has been very difficult.  I am so sorry for the lag in posts and my break.  But I have my head above water again and am ready to share some more.

Three people sponsored Adacar kids today.  Three of my friends.  Three people who read this blog and were moved and touched by God to become a part of one of these children's lives.  I remain so humbled.  And I remain so lucky and blessed.  I am so very lucky and blessed to be able to share this. 

It never fails... never.  I start thinking no one is reading this blog and that I am wasting my time.  Not many comments are left and the enemy uses that to tell me to stop wasting my time here.  I start thinking that people are upset that my blog has changed from the fun decorating and fluff stuff to deep and real and that no one wants to hear it anymore.  And just when I am thick in thinking that... God walks in and tells me something so very different.  Last week... three people came up to me on one day and started talking about how they had just caught up on my blog, sat in tears as they read it, drug their husbands in to read it, and that they wanted to sponsor a child.  They thanked me over and over for taking the time to share this.  It was if they had been right in my head with my struggles and were speaking truth right over it.  Another friend came up and said she had never read it until just recently and was going back through my older posts and how much she loved it.  And another was so moved, she and her husband are planning a fundraiser in the state where they live to raise money for Adacar.  Wow.  All I can say is Wow... and thank you.

It is so easy to be distracted with the fluff stuff.  I still need it for a mental retreat.  I still browse through my decorating blogs to get some fun ideas and still freshen around here as often as I can.  I love to create and I love to nest and I love to make our house our home.  But it is not where my priority lies.  And it is not what I mainly talk about.  And I don't make any apologies for that anymore.  I can never go back to THAT being what matters and where my attention lies.  There is too much need in the world and too much of HIM to share to be caught up in the fluff.  But I do promise to slip in a redo photo here and there and a fun project every now and then! :0)

This precious child stood out to me from the first day I arrived.  I wasn't sure why until a few days later when I realized it was the sponsor child of my Mom 2 Mom leader at the time.  Her name is Annette.  And she is nothing short of precious.  And she was knitting with sticks.  If you look ever so closely... you will see a tiny notch in the end of her little stick.  They use yarn from old sweaters that have been unwoven.  They also use plastic... and knit with hypodermic needles.  You read that right.  That is how they craft.

I am amazed at how resourceful and talented they are.  Amazed.

Annette knitted for me and was proud to show me her talent.  I was humbled.
Annette sat next to me on a table and let me rub her arm in soft strokes.  After about 15 minutes... she sweetly started rubbing mine.  It was so deeply precious.  It was trust.  It was friendship.  It was a gift.  Affection is not something that is high on the priority list over there.  Surviving is.  I will treasure that moment always... and the soft weight of her little finger gliding up and down my arm.

One day, members of our team started painting finger nails.  Boys and girls lined up and waited patiently for their turn to have painted nails!  It was so sweet.  They were mesmerized.

Many times, they just painted right over the dirt! :0)  They didn't care.  And neither did we.

Painted nails.  The highlight of that day.  Such a simple treat.

Oh... how we take so much for granted.  But oh... how we no longer have to. 
Continue to pray for Adacar.  Continue to pray for these children.  Continue to pray for them to see God's love and to follow Him through their faith in Christ.  Pray for the relationships being built through sponsorships.  Pray for each child to know God's love.