Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Around the Corner

Yesterday as Dw and I were talking about a current 
situation we have been walking through,
suddenly the Lord brought this story to mind.

So I reminded that sweet man of mine about it 
and in recounting the story again we
both were greatly encouraged.

It is so good to tell each other the stories of
God's faithfulness.

To share just how good He has been to us.

Although I have shared this story
before, as I looked back through this
Place, I discovered it had been
four years since last sharing it!

Where in the world does the time go?

It's been four years ago since I shared this story,
but trust me,
it's a darn-tootin' good one!

Many years ago Dw and I planted a church and were
pastoring outside Richmond, Virginia.

We had built a sweet home on those acres and with six kids at the time,
we really wanted to get a pool.

Not a fancy pool, just a pool to splash around and cool off in. 
So we started praying for one.  
We asked the Lord to provide a very specific pool. 


God's word also says, "You have not because you ask not." 
Based on that scripture we decided many years ago that 

when we bring our requests to the Lord 
we need to ask specifically.

So we asked for a pool that was shaped like a figure 8 and was used 
(but in great condition), so it would be very affordable. 
There was a used/swap kind of newspaper that was for 
Richmond and surrounding areas. 
I started checking that.

Before long I realized that that little used/swap paper covered many miles. 
Some places advertising could be hours away. 
So I changed my prayer - 
Lord, you know how busy Dw is, 
could you please provide a used, 
figure 8 pool right here in our neighborhood of our little town? 

Now if you knew how rural and little this town was, you would have laughed. 

Dw did. 

Come on, what are the odds that a used, figure 8 pool in great shape was
anywhere nearby? 

 Odds in the world's eyes? 
Slim! 

But in God's eyes? 

*giggle* 

Before long we were leaving to go to Western New York
for our family vacation.
Just before leaving I saw an ad in that little used/swap paper.

It was for a used, figure 8 above-ground pool that 
had only been used one season.

 It was listed for sale for $700.00.
And where was it listed?
In our little very rural town!!



I called the man and left a message, but didn't hear back.
{This was pre-cell phones.}

We left on our family vacation.
I thought about that pool and asked the Lord to hold it for us
till we got back two weeks later.

When we got home there was a message on
our answering machine.
A man's voice said, "Don't know if you are still interested,
but my pool has not sold." 

Dw had already gone to the church office, so I called the guy.
He explained that he had just bought the house,
the pool was in the backyard, he didn't want it and he had the receipt
 that it was only one year old.



The previous owner had paid about $5,000.00 for it!!
I said I would call my husband, but just before he hung up he said,
 "Listen, I just really want it out of here...I will sell it to you for $500.00"

I was so excited (as I despise negotiating - ugh!!)

I hung up and called Dw.
I forgot in my excitement to tell Dw that he had lowered the price to $500.
Well Dw called the man and was talking to him about the pool and said,
"My wife told me about the pool,
but I can't even remember how much you are asking."
He said, "I started at $700. but really I just want it gone.
I will sell it to you for $300.00." 

When Dw called me I was whooping, come on now friends - it started at $700.00, 
was just $500 minutes before
 and in the time it took for me to tell Dw and have Dw call him 
right back he had dropped it again by $200 dollars!!

Dw called me to tell me we were going to look at it and it was $300.

I was laughing - come on dude,
we aren't even there yet and you are dropping the price like a crazy man!!

We said we would come to see it the next day.
 And oh, by the way, where did that guy live?

 *giant giggles*

Being there is rural farmland -
he lived approximately 60 houses from us!

We went to look at it the next day.
He wanted to show us the receipt.
It had just been installed the year before by the previous owner
 for over $5,000. It was a figure 8.
It was wonderful!!

Then the man said,
 "I really think you will need a new liner because of the heat shrinking it
 (or something like this)...
I just don't feel comfortable selling it to you for $300, 
how about just for $200?" 

{{uproarious laughter}}



So for $200 we drove away with an almost brand-spankin' new pool 
which we didn't have to negotiate for - 
that we found almost literally around the corner
 from our home.

Unbelievable!! 

Only God -
He is soooo faithful!

That awesome pool
brought us boatloads of fun for the years we pastored
there and it daily reminded us that God is into the details -
if we just ask.

Yippee Jesus!

What needs do you have?
What concerns?
What specifically are you praying for?

God cares.
God wants us to talk to Him.
He is definitely in the details.
Just ask.

In our Memorial Box there is a little
rubber duck that represents this story.

Monday, April 14, 2014

We Could Use Your Help




There's about to be a gathering together 
of a sweet pile of precious gems....

and these little gems are going to be 
in need of some very fun therapy tools...

Mind you,
this is definitely not my area of expertise, 
however,
being Ruby's mommy I am learning a
few terms from her therapies 
and some of the reasoning
behind things like 

Swings!




Ruby needs to swing to begin to
to understand her 'body in space',
have spatial awareness and 
to promote the awakening of all her
senses.

On a personal note, Ruby is beginning to 
enjoy swinging and it is so stinkin' fun to watch!


In a couple of months


is leading a GO Team

to serve at


Dates: May 22nd to June 2nd, 2014
Cost:  $1450 + airfare

One of the key things the team will
be doing is building a playground/swingset 
for the Gems of The Gem Foundation.

If you are looking for a purpose for your summer...
please prayerfully consider joining the team...
we could really use your help!

For more information or an application, 
please email:

Office@InternationalVoiceOfTheOrphan




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Any Ideas?

 It was a long week.

A really, really, really long week.

So this is a first for me,
I think.

 I have a question for you guys.

We have recently painted our kitchen a soft taupe color
with our white updated cabinets,
which Dw totally did
{and did a dang-tootin beautiful job,
I might add}.


The laundry room is right off the kitchen.

and is pictured below.

I was going to tidy it up to take a picture,
but decided to keep it real, since it never, 
ever, ever looks better than this.

Here's my question to all you Pinteresting friends...

What color would you paint it
and what else would you do to make it a 
place that you would love hanging out in.

{Okay, what sicko really loves hanging
 out in their laundry room.}

The washer and dryer are bright red...
and I have to laugh...
they were such a fun color
at the time..
still cheery and colorful but maybe it limits
wall color a bit?

I have no idea.

I just would love a fun laundry room
and maybe someone out there has 
some wonderful ideas for me.

There is a small row of cabinets 
behind the door opposite the
washer and dryer.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crazy Love in Action

Some days doesn't the simple love of a child
put into action just steal your heart away?

Yesterday a precious letter arrived from an orphan-loving young
girl named Ariana.

Inside the letter was a check for $22.50.

The letter said,

"Dear Linny,

My friend Faith and I did a face painting 
fundraiser to raise money for the orphans.  
We raised $22.50 which we are sending you for 
International Voice of the Orphan.  

Love, Ariana"


Ariana {L} and Faith


Even their envelope was amazing!!
Love, love, love how Uganda has a red heart around it!


Crazy Love in action!!

Time so wisely spent.

Child-like faith.

Selfless deeds.

And orphans on the other side of the world eat.

Ariana and Faith could have been doing basically anything else
but instead chose to take the time to plan, gather the things
necessary, advertise and then spend their hours painting
faces so orphans could eat.  How amazingly cool is that?

What a tangible testimony of things that 
young people can do to care for the orphans!

No doubt, Ariana and Faith, the Lord is pleased with your love for the
orphans of the world.  May God bless you a billion times over...and
may your mom and dad continue to fan the flames Almighty God
has been stirring in your hearts.  

And on behalf of precious treasures in Uganda

thank you....

     thank you.....

         thank you!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

One Missing Paper

The freshest of stories...
and oh-so-wonderful
to see God's hand 
up close and personal,
always at work in our lives...

Because although God never changes
and His promises are the same
yesterday, today and forever,
somehow we so easily forget that part.

But really, if He worked miracles 2,000 years ago...

Why is it we are so doggone forgetful 
that that same God
works miracles today?

It's not a joke
nor is it 'wishful thinking'
He is alive and well 
and
He most definitely still in the miracle-working-business
today!

And that's why friends - 

we have to continually remember
and tell each other the stories of His faithfulness
and His very, very, very miraculous ways...

When we remember what He has done
 we are reminded He is more than game to 
do it again and again and again!

And so it is that this Memorial Box story 
comes hot-off-the-press...
as in from - yesterday!

*****

When I was in Africa a very important piece of 
paper arrived at our home.

It was one of the most important papers we have ever had
and
it was a paper we were celebrating.

It doesn't matter what the paper was,
just suffice it to say, 
it was very, very, very important to our family 
and we were overjoyed that it had arrived.




I couldn't wait to see the piece of paper when I got home.

Only trouble was that by the time I got home
it had disappeared. 

There had been some massive all out searches for it
before Liberty and I had even landed.

But to no avail.

Hmmm.

{Upside was that I didn't get blamed 
for losing it.  hahahahha}

Where did that piece of paper go?

Of course, the problem with 
a missing piece of paper 
is that it could be anywhere.


It could have been accidentally put in a file



which could have inadvertently been 
filed in our filing cabinet...

and

we know how many files and files and files
large-adoptive-and-also-in-ministry families
 can have!



Or 

worse yet, 
it could have been accidentally
thrown out.


That thought made us feel sick.

So Daddy offered the kids a reward
and 
we turned it kind of into a game.

It was, 
shall we say, a
"Find-the-missing-paper-and-everyone-will-get-a-reward" 
kind of frustration fun.

And we all searched.

A true team effort.

High and low.

In this and through that.

Over and over.

Most places searched multiple times
by multiple people.

Short people as well as tall people. 

If you were a fly on our wall
you would have heard more than once,

"If I were a piece of paper I would hide...."

Of course we prayed together as a family several times...

In the meantime, quite some time ago 
the Lord began to speak 
to my heart about my prayers...

I know I've mentioned it before...
but do we pray 
believing?

I mean, really, truly, believing?

And friends, I knew that this paper had been 
from the Lord,
so we didn't need to ask if it was His will to find it...
Of course it was His will...
He had provided it in the first place!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us,

"Without faith it's impossible to please God..."

That's a quickly quoted 
and kind of a simple verse, 
but it bears much, much, much weight.

I mean think about...
we want to please God,
most of us want to please Him with our whole being.

But it says that 
if we don't have faith 
we're not pleasing Him.

Why is that?

Well Almighty God wants us to 
believe Him
and 
trust Him
and
hope in Him
and 
depend on Him
and 
know that when He says
He will do
something,
He means it!

Sooooo....

a few years ago I began to pray for things like this:

"Lord you know exactly where such-n-such is,
so would you please 
bring it to where we can find it easily,
no matter where it is at this moment."

And then I pray,

"Please whisper to me where you put it."

He has brought the most incredible things
to where we could find them easily,
but they are stories for another day!

Anyway,

I prayed with Dw that simple prayer,

"Lord you know where it is,
if it was thrown out, filed or in a landfill somewhere - 
please bring it from wherever it is 
and 
put it where we can find it.
Easily.
Without any effort.
Oh, and I want to be the one to find it."
{giggle}

And I knew that I knew that I knew He was going to do it.

And I waited.

A few days passed -
He hadn't whispered yet.

But I thanked and praised Him for bringing it to 
where it would be easily found.

Then yesterday morning I woke up 
and
immediately He whispered where to look.

I got up and casually remarked to Dw,
"I'm sure you've checked your briefcase."

He answered,
"Like twenty times."

I responded, "Yeah, I figured you had."  

Nehemiah piped up...
"I look in Dad's case too." 


Without a word,
I nonchalantly and very quietly headed into Dw's den
in search of his briefcase which had already been
checked many, many times by more than one person.

I unzipped the first small compartment
even though it would have been too small to hold the paper.

Nothing.

Then I unzipped the second bit-larger compartment.

Nothing.

Then I opened the regular part of the briefcase where
everyone keeps their larger papers.

I found one lone yellow legal pad and a brochure of some kind.
I moved the legal pad a bit and
I noticed one white piece of paper tucked inside
its pages.

I thought,
"That looks like a piece of copy paper."

Lifting the yellow legal pad out
I quickly turned to the place where the
indeed a piece of copy paper was...

and

I gasped!

Right there before my eyes was the long-searched for paper!

Even though I was stinkin' giddy, I mustered all
the casualness I could and walked out to the kitchen 
and didn't say a word.

I just stood near Whitey where he could 
watch me holding the piece of paper.

I kept my face down, intently staring at it.

Glancing at what I was holding, 
he basically yelled,

"Where did you find that?"

"You won't believe it."

He questioned me,

"Come on!  Where?"

I started to giggle loudly and said,
"How many times did you search your briefcase?"

"NO WAY!  You did not!!
I searched there at least 20 times!"

He continued,
"I have goose bumps all over me!
I can't believe it!"

I reminded him,
"We asked the Lord to put it where we could 
find it easily.  My best guess is that it was probably in a landfill
and He sent ministering angels to get it,
clean it up, iron it and then
put it in a place that had been searched many times
just to show His miraculous ways!"

Think about it, if we found it in a tucked away
file in our filing cabinet we would rejoice,
but to find it in a place that had been
searched many, many times?

Oh how He loves to do the miraculous!!!

So here's the skinny friends....
God loves to answer our specific prayers.

He says He whispers secrets to those who fear Him.
{Psalm 25:14 - one of my most favorite verses}

And those who hope in Him, will not be disappointed!
{Isaiah 49:23 - Another favorite verse of mine!}

He longs for us to trust Him.
To believe His word.
To Hope in Him and Him alone.

He did exactly what we humbly and thankfully asked Him to do.
Why wouldn't He?
He loves us all oh-so-much!

All praise and honor and glory to
our miracle working,
mountain moving,
awe inspiring,
gasp-giving God....
And to officially celebrate we had ice cream sundaes for dinner.


A copy of that sweet piece of paper will be added to
our Memorial Box.

How about you?
What are you trusting Him for?
What are you praying in faith believing for?
He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above
all we could think or ask!
Put your hope in Him.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hope Kids



is a ministry that encourages and offers Hope
to families who have a child with a life-threatening 
illness.  

After an application process we
were granted the beautiful privilege
of being part of it all
because of our sweet Ruby.

Hope Kids 
has basically weekly events
that are hosted
for FREE....

from Diamondback games
to the ballet
or 
 making birdhouses,
Private movie Events,
to 
Bumblebee Ranch...

Large families + FREE = Overjoyed!!

Yesterday 
Hope Kids hosted an event
at Bumblebee Ranch in Bumblebee, Arizona
just north of Phoenix.

I have to post just a few pictures
to chronicle the event but also
to share what a blessing this ministry is to 
our family. 


What's an Arizona ranch without a bucking bronco to ride?

did the kids ever squeal...





or a rock wall climbing wall....

or horses to pet...


or having most of our kids ride a horse for the first time

They love, love, loved the thrill...

Is Arizona gorgeous or what?



Ruby had a blast and met many new friends!


An amazing lunch was provided,
crafts opportunities galore,
 face-painting, 
Western family pictures
[so bummed we forgot to do our family picture - ugh]
nerf gun wars, 
Hummer rides,
pellet gun sharp-shooting...
all included!!



No doubt, 
one Special Forces big brother
 is one
younger brother's hero.

Nehemiah asked to have this done all by himself.


And then there was my personal favorite -
ARCHERY!!

The last time I remember shooting 
a beau {lol} bow was in high school...

it was my favorite semester of my 
years of gym class back then
so when I saw archery was going to 
be part of the day 
I was tickled to pieces.

Of course, 
being out of high school now for 
{clearing throat}
a few years
I wondered how I would do.

Imagine my giggle when my very first arrow 
hit the bullseye!!!

and then our three little boys hit the bullseye with the 
pellet guns no problem. 

We were rockin' those targets!

Graham takes credit for that because he
takes them for target practice every now and then. 


The memories made were priceless.
We are so grateful for 
Hope Kids 
and the privilege of being part of it...
the Lord has been so good to us.

Have I mentioned lately
how much I love living in Arizona?


Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's His 8th One




When he joined, 
we secretly hoped the four years would quickly pass
and home he would come.

And somewhere in there someone in the know told 
Dw and I
"it will get easier with each depl*yment".

Those words are actually the farthest 
from the truth,
this being his 8th one,
trust me in this...

there is nothing 'easier' about any of it.

Good thing we can't remember who said it
or we'd have to call them on it!

Truth be known, the dread in our hearts overwhelms us at times.
Tears fall for "no good reason."

And our family goes into it's own high-alert prayer mode. 

While in Africa we knew his 8th one was approaching
and we scheduled a special Skype time...

We gathered on one side of the ocean 
and  
he and his precious family were gathered on the other.  

We laughed.
We talked.
We planned.

His humor is never at anyone's expense,
yet he is truly the funniest person I've ever known.
Just kind of Farside"ish".  



About a month before he left he called Graham.

He asked if they would move their wedding date 
so he could be home for it.

In his normal big-brother humor he questioned,
"So am I in the wedding?"

Mr. Graham, the serious younger brother responded, 

"We're actually not having anyone stand up in the wedding."

Big brother didn't blink, but persisted,
"So am I in the wedding?"

Graham repeated his answer again.

Big brother still didn't blink, 
but straight faced,
questioned yet again,
"So am I in the wedding?"

We were all laughing by now.

Of course, they changed the date and the wedding 
will wait for him to come home
and he will likely take his place beside Graham
and we will all giggle.  

In the meantime,
we pray, we send packages,
we write emails 
and we pray some more.

I know there are many of you who pray
for our family.

picture from last summer


If we should come to mind,
please, please, please
would you pray for that hero of ours 
and his sweet family of treasures?

He and his men are in the thick of it.

And to all who serve, 
have served,
or wait stateside,
thank you.

From our home to yours,
we get it.