Friday, August 29, 2014

These Two

Over the years many of you have prayed and wondered.
Some of you have written and asked.

All I can say is that 
"a picture is worth a thousand words".

To those who have prayed, please don't stop
and thank you so very, very, very much.

Here's what I can tell you:

She's doing well.

She giggles easily. 

Although she seems shy, she's really not,
at least with us. 

She loves to play games.

She loves to play with little ones.

 She loves to sing!! 

She loves Bible trivia. 

She has our hearts.

She calls us what we are to her.

We call her what she is to us.

Recently while visiting Emma on an extended school break, 
we were able to almost daily Skype with them
{although some days they had no power}.

No doubt, she knows we love her.

And by their smiles you can tell...

They're sisters.

They even look alike.  



Of course they do.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just Soaking.


In need of comfort, peace and hope in the midst of storms?

Me too.

Here are some words that have been ministering to my soul...

In fact, I highlighted in red one of the verses below.
Those 11 simple words I have whispered over and over and
over and over and over to my precious friend.


I love to read and I love to write poetry.
Do you poems?

Here is a beautiful poem I found.


*****

Trust Me Anyway

Lord, when I have a problem
That is troubling me some way,
And I can’t see how You’ll solve it,
“Trust Me anyway,” You say.

Even when it seems to me
There’s a mountain in the way,
You tell me You can move it;
“Trust Me anyway,” You say.

You’ve taught me to rely on You,
To trust You come what may;
My doubts and fears all disappear
When I trust you anyway.
JM McIntosh

"I have set the LORD continually before me; 
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." 
Psalm 16:8


 "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. 

In God, whose word 
I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. 
What can [mere] man do to me?" 
Psalm 56:3-4


 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33


 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
 with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, 
shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." 
John 14.27

"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble 
and surround me with songs of deliverance." 
Psalm 32:7-8


"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, 
and rescues them from all their troubles." 
Psalm 34:17


May His peace, comfort and presence minister to you deep within your soul.

Know this:  

There is no struggle too difficult for Him.
Unplanned by you, perhaps.
Yet He saw the future 
and He knew what it held.

And He firmly reminds each of  us,


"Rest in me.  Trust me.  I am your strength."


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Twists and Turns

An average day.

But not an average outcome 

and certainly not a day we were expecting. 

Not even a blip on my radar.

Yet, it was what it was.

*****

Finding it impossible to think.

Completely overwhelmed.

Returning home with the ones who were with me,
my littles greeted us where Dw
had been watching those still at home.

With enthusiasm they called, 

"Shut your eyes!  Shut your eyes!"

Obediently I allowed them to lead me, eyes
tightly closed through the dining room
and into the kitchen area, where they stopped
me abruptly and shouted, 

"Open them! Open them!"

And on the kitchen table were notes of encouragement, 
cards filled with loving words, just to bless our souls...
a special glass dish that used to be my mom-in-love's
with Gluten Free cookies, a candle and flowers 
from our little garden.

Just because they love.

Daddy had told them that the day had been difficult.

He had questioned,

"What can we do to show Mommy and your sibs that we love them
after a difficult time?"

My eyes welled with tears as I stood taking it all in.  

We could be missing out on all of this if we were
empty-nesting....
  as would be totally expected at our age.

Yet, we have this enormous privilege.

This mountainous responsibility.

We get to.

We get to invest in some of the most precious 
little treasures in the world...

and together we get to do life - 

and 

 share moments of 

joy

and 

sorrow

and

grief

and 

fear

and 

unexpected twists

and 

comfort

and 

yukky bumps

and

heartache

and

laughter.

All because we are family.

I can't imagine what I would do without these 
little ones.

The Lord has been so good to us.

And I wouldn't trade these twists and turns for anything.





"It is the Lord who goes before you. 
He will be with you; 
He will not fail you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed." 
Deuteronomy 31:8



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Simplicity: Log Cabin Living

I am sooo excited for our new Saturday Simplicity series:


Log Cabin Living

In my heart of hearts, pre-Ruby, I longed to move to a remote area 
{with the desert weather!} where we could enjoy Log Cabin Living 
{like the one pictured above}
as a sweet family. 
 It would be nestled in an area "a hundred miles" from civilization...
{see, I really am an introvert}.   

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of living in our little log home 
before we lost it in a fire. 

No doubt, with Ruby's fragile health, there is not even an albeit brief 
possibility of entertaining such a wild and crazy idea 
{unless God totally heals her - which is, of course, totally possible!}.  

 In the meantime, we embrace our beautiful home in the city of Phoenix, 
with close proximity to Phoenix Children's Hospital while 
we enjoy to the fullest the spectacularly gorgeous Phoenix weather 
and all the perks of big city living!!

The series will be an on-going and I will share our version of 
large family living, on a very limited budget while practicing Simplicity.  
We invite to share this journey with us.  
As always, there are plenty of ways to do life.  

We humbly welcome you into our home.  

Please be nice.    

******




My plan is to share simple things our large family does. 

In keeping with the whole simple plan, 
it will be a rather short, simple post.

Here's the three simple questions I ask about the things we use:

1. Does it contain chemicals of any sort?
2.  Is it simple and relatively cheap to get?
3.  Does it have multiple purposes?

If we can use the same item in many ways,
I consider that a major  

win/win.

We live in the desert, my sweet African babies lean toward 
dry skin, and I have Sjogren's Syndrome.

We definitely need to moisturize our skin every day.

One day, a couple of years ago I thought I would look to see
what the daily moisturizer that I had bought for years contained.

Here's what it said:




Ever research what "proplyparaben" or "ethylparaben" does to a body?


So we started using 100% Organic Coconut Oil.
I love the smell.
I actually think I could drink a bottle of it, no problem.

However, after using it for a couple of years ,
I began to notice that I was itchy.
I would crawl into bed at night and want to itch my skin
right off.

I asked the Lord what was causing the itching?

He whispered, "The coconut oil." 

So then I started researching and found that 
as yummy as Coconut oil smells, it is the 'driest' of all the oils.
I thought, 'If I were to go back to ancient times,
what did they use to moisturize their skin?'


And I found the answer:

Olive Oil

The Egyptians were onto something!




I keep our Olive Oil in a pretty dispenser and it works beautifully
for every one's moisturizing needs.

Yes, I use it on my face, too.




Relatively cheap compared to all the
moisturizers filled with chemicals and 
we buy it to cook with as well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mattie's With Jesus

Do you remember just over a year ago when I asked for prayer for a
 precious treasure named 

The youngest son of my friend Tracie Loux and her husband John.

Many of you know Tracie from the adoption world.  

Adoptive mom.

God-fearing.

Orphan advocate.

Tracie is also an adoption consultant and friend of our family.

Yesterday night, suddenly, 
fragile Mattie encountered a life-threatening asthma attack.

Although every measure was taken and medical help arrived almost immediately, 
Mattie went home to be with Jesus.



Mattie's medically fragile state, although different,
was very similar to Ruby's.  

Round-the-clock care, round-the-clock privilege,
round-the-clock love, round-the-clock thankfulness and joy.

Tracie and I chatted briefly this morning. 
Their hearts have been ripped open and the hole in their hearts is gapping.

Would you please pray for my friend Tracie, her husband John,
their children and their family?

And if you should feel led to help financially,
please go here.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted."
Psalm 34:18  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Shocking Twist!!


I seriously appreciated each of you who took the time to give some of your 
thoughts on what you would have done.

I confess that I giggled when I read what 

Randi and Melissa P'P said. 

And truthfully, Vicki H - Oh girlfriend!

You made me laugh straight out loud!

And JT - I totally enjoyed that you wholeheartedly agreed with Vicki,
your comment made me laugh out loud all over again!

And Lisa C, whatever your husband means, 
I am right there with you!

So here's what I did....

I was in shock and disbelief at what I had just witnessed.

There was no way I could talk to anyone at that moment.

Like you lori, I needed to go and think and pray.

I was alone and so I drove home to ponder what my next move would be
but I knew that I could not leave it!

As far as I was concerned she had just made fun of the man
who could easily have been my daughter!

And Business-Banker-Lady had not stopped it but in my
humble opinion needed to be reprimanded as well.

When I reached home, I went into our room and
called the bank and asked for the manager.

She was out to lunch but the woman who answered said
she was the assistant manager and asked if 
she could help me. 

I assured her that I only wanted to speak to the manager.
I gave her my number and asked her to call.

About a half hour later my cell rang.

As I said Hello to her and began to explain to her what had happened,
I began to sob.  I'm not joking.  I did not cry or get choked up, 
but I was stinkin' sobbing.  
It could have easily been our Uncle Mark or our Jubilee...

I tried to get a grip, but I was barely audible as powerful emotions were choking on my words...

As I was relaying the details of the story, 
I happened to also mention that there was no way the Greeter-Girl
could deny it because there was a witness to the whole thing,
the Business-Banker-Lady - that is if the Business-Banker-Lady
was truthful!!

I then questioned the manager 
regarding the one witness 
{the Business-Banker-Lady}:


"Do you know which employee I mean?
She had a 'flowerdy' shiny fabric shirt on?"

Her words stunned me as she replied:

"That was me."



You cannot be serious!!?!?

I almost fell over.  
The mean-spirited young whipper-snapper had been making fun 
of the customer with the very bank manager!

{Janet C - you called it!!}

And Preppy Pink - no wonder she hadn't done anything!


I was undone.
My sobbing didn't end as she went on to tell me that 
Greeter-Girl just needs more training.


I explained, 

"Actually, 
more training will accomplish absolutely nothing,
because the Bible tells us that our words come out of what is in our heart and obviously she has a very, very, very ugly heart.  
So it's really a heart issue.  You can do all the training you want, but it will not make a difference until she has a heart change." 




I mentioned that with the high unemployment rate these days
it seems that there ought to be many in the city of Phoenix who 
would serve the bank well and not make fun of the customers.

I told her that I would be speaking to my husband and that 
we would possibly be pulling our money out of this bank.

She said, "It's too bad that one bad experience would make you do that."

I replied, "She was making fun of the customers!  
I would never bring my children in - they could be made fun of as well!"

The conversation went nowhere 
other than her saying, 

"I'm sorry you had to hear that."    


Clearly the bank manager needs heart surgery as well.  



I then called Corporate and told them the whole story.

They wanted to know Greeter-Girl's name and I explained that the 
bank manager wouldn't give it to me - they were pretty surprised at that.  
I did give them the manager's name. 


So the other day I happened to be talking to a casual 
friend of mine who is a Psychologist.  I just had to get her take on it all.   

I had one main question for my Psychologist friend:

"Don't you think that the Manager is making fun of customers as well
since Greeter-Girl thought it was okay to do it with her?"

She agreed completely!!


Then my tender-hearted Psychologist friend spoke,

"Oh how sick it makes me.  
Just imagine all that that young man has had to 
overcome to be able to ride a scooter alone to the bank!"  

And when she said that, I started to cry all over again.

She knows my Jubilee and together we pictured:

If my sweet girl were ever able to ride a scooter that would be monumental.  If she were able to ride alone somewhere that would be over-the-top.  If she were able to do banking? 
It would be the equivalent of walking on water.

Oh friends.  


It's been weeks, but my heart still grieves and as I've typed this post
I've cried all over again.

The injustices done to people with special needs are despicable.  
May God grant us the courage to 

Be Their Voice.

No matter what.

And truthfully, as the mom of many special treasures, I would rather hear of someone who handled it the 'wrong' way 
{go ahead Vicki and knock them into next week} 
then to hear that someone, 
for fear of handling it wrong, 
did nothing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Would You Have Done?


The other day I went to the bank to wire some money to 
our favorite missionary.

Although Dw does the banking most of the time, 
since he has been going to Africa more and more, 
I've needed to go in much more often. 

Up until this point, I hadn't done the banking in a long time and so I 
was surprised to see that the banks now have a person greeting 
each customer who comes in.    

Do the banks in your area do that as well?

"Hi! How are you?  How can we help you?"

Interesting.

Anyway, I was sitting at one of the desks
as a young man helped me with the money transfer.

However, his computer froze and he had me move to another desk
right behind the Greeter-girl who was greeting the people coming in.

I looked up a few times because, really,
I was close enough that I could have pinched tapped her arm.

Since the other computer had frozen, 
this pleasant young man had to begin the wire transfer
all over again. 

Sitting watch the young man typing,
I could overhear the Greeter-girl.

"Hi! How are you?"

and

"Oh hi! How can we help you?"

or

"Hi!  How are you today?  What can we help you with?"

About that time a woman came from behind me and went out the 
door of the bank to the "Business" banking door, which is located right next 
to the entrance of the bank at large.

I was guessing that the woman worked for the bank
because of her attire and the way she walked into the Business banking
door.   I will call her the Business-Banker-Lady.

I was only half paying attention, but suddenly glancing up, I
 noticed that the Business-Banker-Lady was now back inside the bank
and was standing next to the Greeter-Girl and they both appeared to be
greeting the customers who were coming and going.

Both were close enough to hear every word they were saying
without trying.  As I said, I could have reach out and touched them
without any effort.

Well within a matter of seconds of seeing Business-Banker-Lady 
now standing beside Greeter-Girl, I noticed a young man leaving 
the tellers and walking toward the exit.

He was carrying a motorcycle-type helmet and there was no 
doubt that it was an effort to move.  His gait was notable.

He reminded me of my sweet Jubilee Promise.

His gait made him struggle a bit as walked to the door, but as he did so, 
he was looking at Greeter-girl, swinging his helmet, 
and grinning from ear-to-ear he spoke,

"Need to hurry up and get back to work."


To which Greeter-Girl's face contorted in a contrived smile and answered, 

"Buh-bye!"

The young man, swinging his helmet, still grinning, turned and went out the door.

The second he turned, Greeter-girl turned to
Business-Banker-Lady and rolling her eyes in complete 
disdain and disgust exclaimed, 

"Weirdo!"

Greeter-girl continued,

"He thinks he has a motorcycle.  But he rides a scooter!" 



Greeter-girl was laughing now.
I did not hear Business-Banker-Lady say anything 
because Greeter-girl's nasty laugh was drowning out anything else.  

I sat astonished that I had just witnessed the clear 
mocking of a customer who was very obviously physically and 
cognitively challenged - right in front of me - a customer!!  

This bank, which is supposed to be a place of professionalism
had two of their employees jeering as a customer,
who likely considered them his "friends" left the place
where he did regular business. 

I can tell you this much...

The righteous anger was rising with each beat of my heart.




But before I share what I did...








Let me ask....

What would you have done?


Anything?

 Nothing?

Let it go?

Walk away?

Ignore it?

Get out as fast as you could?

Twap them.
{After all I was close enough. j/k} 
Sort of.


I would love to hear your thoughts.