Sunday, January 29, 2012

The voice of hope

I have been home since Monday night.  But so much of my heart is still wandering the country side of Latvia... lingering in hallways where children walk and wait.  My heart.  Christ's heart.  Some people say, "It takes a special heart to do what you do," and my response inside is, "No, no it doesn't, it's Christ's heart, it's available to every believer, it's available to you."  You see, my heart wanted to crumble about 10 different times... right there... in a heap on the floor... story after story... face after face... life after life.  My heart wanted to say it's just too much, there are just too many, why... why try... what can we really do?  My heart wanted to stay in bed and cry for a couple of days and just mourn how expendable children have become and how blind so many can be to the fact that they are there... children... waiting and wanting to be loved... to be wanted.  I do not have a special heart.  But what I do have is a desire to be obedient and to live my life for the LORD and His kingdom and not for my own comforts and desires.  His heart lives through my heart.  I'll give you that.

The stories roll around in my mind when I lie in bed at night, when I walk the isle of the grocery store, when I am making meals for my family and standing in my closet.  One precious girl who lives on a farm with her foster dad... she has been there since she was small.  She is now 13... 14.  Her foster mom was killed last year in an accident on the farm.  She doesn't have many girl friends, they say she is ugly.  She is beautiful.  A little shy.  Freckled.  Heart shining through her eyes.  A smile that giggles.  She needs a mom.  Oh... she needs a mom.

Then there is this boy... young man... 14.  He had a half brother who was adopted out to France but he wanted to stay because he had family... his grandfather came to visit him at the orphanage.  His grandfather has since remarried and the new wife wants nothing to do with him.  So the grandfather has stopped coming... walked away... rejected him.  And now he thinks he wants a family.  And he needs one.  Oh how he needs a family.

Then there is a group of three.  They were in a foster family that treated them like slaves.  That's all I will say about that.  They were rescued.  Praise the LORD above.  He opened the eyes of a director at a conference who saw something wasn't right.  The situation was investigated and the children removed.  They are with a grandmother to recover and then will soon be on their way to the orphanage.  Oh they need a family.  They need to know the ONE who rescued them and has plans for them... plans for a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11~

That is a sliver.  A small grain of sand on a beach of endless seas.  Five of 160 million.

But it is five I have been given to be a voice for... a voice for hope.  The LORD'S voice and he says to take care of orphans.  Not too many ways to get around it.  Not really.

I have decided to give even more to Project One Forty Three and am now a coordinator for the families in the south.  It is a privilege to share their stories and to watch God unfold the paths of hope in their lives.  I have been working on the photolisting this week and am hoping to have it complete by the end of next week.  I will share some photos this week as well.

You can find out more information at
You can also start praying... every child needs your prayers.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Prayer Request

I am leaving in less than an hour for the airport.  My mom had asked me to write some prayer requests for her and I emailed them to her and wanted to share them here as well so that my sweet prayer warrior friends could have some really specific prayer requests.  I do not take prayer for granted for one moment and thank you so very much for going before the LORD with these requests!  Hopefully, I will be blogging from there within a few days!

*comfort for the kids leaving their host families tonight

*peace to overtake them on the plane and rest
*comfort and peace for the families driving back home without them
*for God to move hearts of the ones He has in His will to adopt
*rest on the pane tonight for us ALL--- pray this like a thousand times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* for others whom we encounter to be touched by the needs of orphans all over the world
*safe travels and good health for all the kids and team
*on time flights

*protection in Latvia
*God encounters and the eyes to see them and the obedience to walk in them
*emotional and physical strength
*time to be alone with the LORD
*opportunities to share the gospel
*relationships to be built with orphanage directors
*hearts of children to be protected
*for darkness to be brought into light
*for love and hope to be left when we leave each place
*for every child we encounter to feel the love of Christ
*Holy Spirit guidance in the words we speak and questions we ask
*ears to hear and eyes to see what the LORD wants us to hear and see
*faith to be deepened
*safe journey home

*for Don to be renewed each day with patience, strength, and wisdom
*for the kids to feel my love when I am gone
*safety for them all
*good health for them all
*laughter to abound
*relationships with the kids and Don deepened
*cancel all assignments of the enemy on this family in the name of Jesus! (like a thousand times over)

Thank you my sweet, sweet friends!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tip, Trip, and Fit

I am a hair nightmare.  It's the truth.  And this is not the confession!  HA  You have to wait till the end for that one!  Anyway, I have almost never liked my hair.  There are a few days, somewhere in time, where I liked my hair.  No need to go back and try to find them to tally them up!

So today, I was drying my hair, I thought of some tips that I wanted to share!  HA again.  Tips from someone who never likes her hair!  But anyway... here it goes and maybe it will connect with someone out there somewhere!

Alternate product!  Hair has brains.  If you didn't know that you can close your mouth now!  But it knows how to get around hair products!  SOOOOO, that is why your hair will do better if you use mousse one day and gel the next and then mousse again and then gel and then... yeah... you got it!  See, hair my have brains but ours is BIGGER!  So we can outsmart it!

And if you are really feeling festive, you can alternate your shampoo/conditioner by the week.  Yeah.  It double tricks it!  Crazy I know... write this stuff down!  LOL (what is in my water I am drinking!?)

And you can trick it AGAIN by using different brushes when you dry it.  Really.  I mean it.  TRUST ME.  Hating your hair almost your entire life will actually teach you some things in the end!  I have four different round brushes.  One huge round one made of boar's hair, one medium round one made with boar's hair, one medium round ceramic and one medium round ionic!  Yep.  One day one works great and then the next it is limp biscuit and won't do anything!  So I found pulling a switch on the brush TRICKS it AGAIN and I get better results.  There will be a pop quiz at the end of this post!  :0) (just kidding... relax)

Lastly, a vitamin tip about hair.  My hair was falling out in mass quanity for two years.  Like crazy falling out.  Huge wad of hair when I washed it, again when I brushed it, again when I gelled it, and again when I dried it.  I still don't know how I have had any left.  My doctor said "stress".  My OBGYN said "stress".  And they both said, "Stopped being stressed."  HAHAHAHAHA  LOLOLOLOLOLOL 

OK... back to reality.  We were visiting a nutritionist for Abby and so I just threw it out there one day and he said, "Biotin.  Take Biotin."  And I did.  And not only did it stop falling out... new hair started growing in!  Seriously.  I have tons of new hair growth that now looks like broken off hair because it is fuzzy and short all in there but hey... new hair and it is NOT FALLING OUT anymore!  (And this is NOT a paid advertisement)  :0)

So... now that hair stuff is out of my system... I can move on to the trip.  I am leaving on Thursday, the 12th, for Latvia.  I will be gone 12 days.  I love Latvia.  I am really looking forward to being back there.  I am going to photograph and interview orphans for Project One Forty Three's summer hosting program.  Wow.

It is going to be a big trip with BIG emotions and our BIG GOD will be with me each step of the way.  I was really feeling a good amount of dread.  And then at worship Saturday night, precious believers covered me in such wonderful prayer and spoke such powerful and beautiful words over me... and the dread just lifted and I have felt excitement for the first time.  I feel ready.

I hope to blog from there when I can.  I appreciate all your prayers so so very much.  I am praying that God will use me how and when He wants to and that I will see it and obey His promptings.  I am also praying that I can just overflow the Father's love onto them and that it will stay with them even after I am gone!  Safety and health are always good ones to throw into the requests as well!

I am going with two other women.  One from Chicago, who I already know and have a heart connection with, and another from North Carolina whom I look forward to meeting and hanging with very much.  I can already tell there will be plenty of laughter mixed in to help us get through some dark emotional times.

And since I am leaving and may not be back in touch for just a bit, this is a bit lengthy today.  I have decided to share a fit with you.  Every now and then I hear something like, "Yeah, you have it all together," or "I was reading your blog and you just have it all together," and I just cringe.  I do not have it together, at all.  Anything that looks like having it together is just Christ in me that you happen to see! 

So here is a glimpse of me.  We need a bigger house.  I don't want to need a bigger house.  I love our home.  LOVE IT!  LOVE IT! And I really like our neighborhood, the location, and many of our neighbors.  And I don't like thinking that I "need" a bigger house when 20 people in some parts of the world share one room and one toilet! (if they have one at all)

But we host orphans.  We host chaperones.  We have lots of out of town company/guests.  We have three children.  And we may have more. (up to God)  So we are looking for a house with a basement.  Yesterday, I found one that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED and it is in foreclosure and is already a great price for what it is and of course can be gotten for a medium amount less.  I looked at it three times yesterday.  It's empty and when Abby and I went to look in the windows (since the realtor wouldn't call back) Abby totally just opened the door!  It was unlocked!  I KNEW it was a gift.  I LOVED IT!  Did I mention that yet?

It had just had brand new carpet put in and had been entirely repainted inside with a neutral color.  It was not my favorite color... but it would have been better than fine and would have matched my everything just fine!  I saw my sofas in there.  I saw the kids sitting at the counter in there.  I saw us enjoying the screen porch... the side porch... the deck.  I saw my furniture in the amazing master.  I saw the kids hanging with friends in the amazing bonus room.  And I saw friends, family, orphans, and chaperones in the basement! 

Needless to say, I wanted it and wanted it bad.  Did I ask the LORD if it was the house for us?  No.
I wanted it.  And I wanted it bad.

The realtor called my husband and told him someone had made an offer and they were going back and forth.  That's it.  I was devistated.  DEEPLY wounded.  Ridiculously peeved.  And I had a fit.  I had a fight with my husband.  I pouted.  I puffed.  I wondered WHYWHYWHYWHY did I have to see it of it was not going to be an option.  And I just had a royal fit.

Hours later... after I mourned and pouted and puffed some more... conviction quietly walked in and slapped me in the face.  Yep.  And there was my sin.. smeared like bad mascara all over my pouty puffed up peeved little face.

Yes LORD.  I know.  I never even asked you.  I jumped in without looking left, right, OR UP!  And then when the door was shut (graciously in a quick manner)... I stomped my foot, spewed, slammed the door, spit on the ground and threw every angry emotion I could at the situation.  Yep.  That is what "I" did.  That was me.

And I was so so sorry.  And I repented.  And I verbalized my trust in Him again and asked for grace.  And He gave it to me.

 I am a real person who stinks sometimes and then God comes in and showers me with His presence.

That was my confession.  He will shower you too... just let Him!

Today's gifts so far...

gorgeous plum, violet sunrise this morning with rising of the fog
time with a dear friend before she left for a year
smiles at pre-school
time with counsel
bumping into dear friend in store
hugs, hugs, and more hugs from friend
kind words of encouragement from 2 friends
gentle blanket of rain
Don home
successful shopping for gifts for Latvia
items on sale I have been watching for almost 2 months
$20 voucher to use with sale items
getting fun and colorful gifts for the girls
grace, God's sweet amazing limitless grace
grace from my husband who loves me even when I pitch a fit
much, much, much love...

Friday, January 06, 2012

To receive in the moment

"The quiet song of gratitude, eucharisteo, lures humility out of the shadows because to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give."  Ann Voskamp, ~ One Thousand Gifts ~

30. bag of soup
31. Don's help with the kids this morning
32. Abby's pleasant mood this morning
33. hot shower on cold morning
34. a good hat to hide a bad hair day
35. friends making cards for orphans
36. clarity to keep priorities
37. sound of hair dryer as Abby dries her hair by herself
38. smiles from Pat (former mom 2 mom leader)
39. a filling dinner of fresh veggies
40. words of wisdom and love from my husband
41. clean floor swept by my daughter
42. Marc's joy from first day at new pre-school
43. smiles and sweet conversation from friend in the carpool line
44. driving with the windows cracked
45. warmth of sunshine on my face through car window
46. closure on interesting old house

This is my list from yesterday.  I get so excited to start my list each day.  But I am already seeing that I am missing something.  Just five days into it, I am seeing that I am missing some of the gifts in the moment and only remembering them at the end of the day.  I am not totally living in the moment.  I want to be in the moment!

Now I am pretty excited that I am recognizing so many gifts from the Father each day but I like it more when I catch it in the moment and hold it close... pausing and accepting with thankfulness.  Like when I came downstairs yesterday and saw that Taylor had swept the kitchen floor the night before.  It is one of her chores and I thought she had not had time to do it since she had so much homework.  So when I walked into the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. and saw clean floors... it blessed me.  I smiled and thanked her when I saw her... yet... I didn't hold it close as a gift from the Father that He held and handed me first thing... to start my day.  I thanked her.  And yet He was there... the true giver... and I didn't lift my eyes to thank Him.

And I feel I must explain #30. bag of soup!  Yesterday, I was kinda filling in for the leader of my Mom 2 Mom group.  She was on a trip and asked me to "lead".  Well, there was no leading!  LOL  She also suggested we make cards for the orphans in Latvia I will be going to visit next week.  So I was only bringing a craft for our group to do!  So the night before, one of my former leaders calls me and tells me the leaders are supposed to bring a crock pot of soup or chili for their group the next day!  I got the message at 5 p.m.  Awwwww!  Then she gave me the best little news.  There is a little known secret that you can go to Atlanta Bread Company (local restaurant) and purchase a "bag" of the soup they serve!  It comes frozen and all you have to do it thaw it out and put it in the crock pot!  It fills the crock pot!  Don was already out and so he stopped by and purchased a bag of soup!  I was thrilled and so excited to be in on the secret!  It was a gift!

There have been so many gifts.  There always has been.  I have acknowledged them before but I want to lie in them now!  I want to be saturated by their presence... just by seeing what was already there!  One of my sweetest gifts yet came the other day when I let something fly!  You can read about it here on another blog I contribute to with some other amazing pretty amazing women who love the LORD and LOVE to talk about it!   I have only met one of these other women but I think we must organize a girl's weekend soon!  They are such sweet sisters in Christ!

I urge you to have opened eyes today and take all the LORD has planned for you with joy and thankfulness.  It is really overwhelming how much He loves us and how much He showers us with His presence!

Be blessed... much much love...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

At the beginning

I am so blown away by the gift of another year.  At the same time, they seem to pass by me faster each time!

There is so much promise at the beginning of something.  And there is so much between the beginning and the end.  Oh... to slow down and really inhale every opportunity we are given.  To see them, embrace them, and inhale them!

I started my counting of gifts on the 1st of this year.  Just looking for them and recording them made me linger in the warmth of the sunshine flowing through kitchen window a little longer, caused me to giggle while cuddling with my fluffy bundle of Dusty, and take extra delight in a house overflowing with friends to start the new year!  Seeing each of them as a direct gift from my Father left me feeling so touched by Him and I am just on day three!

Why can we overlook so much that He gives us?  Why can we ignore and turn away from so many ways He romances us?  Why can we take so many wonderful and abundant gifts for granted?

Because the enemy strives daily to steal our attention... to steal our time... our focus... our joy... our vision... and our hearts.

My eyes are focused on my Father and I will remain looking for Him everywhere... everyday.

I challenge you to look for Him too.

Can't wait to share this year with you!

Much love,