Sunday, August 31, 2008

Headin' Home

Here I sit waiting for my flight home. (FYI - Vancouver's airport has free wi-fi!! Can anyone say a hearty "yippee Jesus"?) I thought I would wrap up the last seven days.

First, I will thank the Lord the rest of my life for this wonderful privilege. I hadn't planned it and didn't ask for it, yet He knew how much I needed it!

I also would be remiss not to thank my handsome hunka hunka husband for pushing me into doing it. He was cheering me on the entire way. The kids all pitched in to make it work too. They are all completely awesome!! You guys totally rock!!! I love you and can't wait to get home and hug you all and give you all the fun things I bought in Alaska....

As far as my thoughts on the trip.....Lately I have realized that I have been a mom for 25+ years, have completed 20 years of home schooling and been a pastor's wife for 17 years....we have 7 children (so far) and I keep the home fires burning on a daily basis. I am a staff counselor at church, am director of the Girlfriend's Ministry at the River and co-pastor with Dw. All that to say that I had not adequately realized just how "empty" my tank was. I love to give and have done so with great joy in many different ways for many, many years. Our Emma put it best when encouraging me to go on this trip - "Do it Mom, you need it - it's never about you mom!" And so I did it and I am soooooo very glad I did.

So what did I do? Really, I just did nothing. I got up when I wanted, ate when I wanted, ate what I wanted, went to read when I wanted, went to type when I wanted, ordered room service when I wanted and went on shore when I wanted. I didn't make my bed, or do any laundry, or do dishes. I didn' even shave my legs every day! (Those closest to me know that I am a bit OCD with shaving my legs and will be relieved to know that I was set free from that this cruise!) =) With all the bears in Alaska - if you can't beat them you might as well join them!!

Probably the greatest thing in the physical realm though was the freedom from all responsibilities. Wow! To not have to tend to any responsibilities for seven days at all - amazing!

Many years ago Dw and I read a story about a women who had many children and every other year she would go on a "Mom trip" for two weeks. She went alone just to be refreshed. Each year it was somewhere different and she would leave behind clues for her kids as to where she had gone. If my memory serves me right, one year her family waved good-bye to her and raced inside to find their teddy bears and dollies all had bandanas around their necks and cowboy hats on indicating that she was on her way to a dude ranch.

Since reading that story many years ago my sweet hubby has encouraged me to do the same thing. BUT I have always been too practical, too responsible, too fearful and too whatever to think about such a thing. However, my thoughts on that lady's Mom vacation have changed since this cruise. I am feeling so refreshed and so restored - that I think that lady in the story was on to something.

I do know that with Jubilee coming home and more before too long that this mommy is going to have some more "Mom trips" in the near future. For all my blog friends, consider doing it too! You earned it, and you definitely deserve it. And for future reference, when I am making my plans for my next Mom trip, let me know if you want to join me!! =)

Friday, August 29, 2008

What YOU Do Is GOOD!!!

Watching the Whales Jump and Perform

Cruises are awesome! I am overflowing with continued refreshment as we cruise back toward Vancouver, British Columbia. One of the things I had been praying for was that we would see whales and sea creatures near the ship……after all, this is the ocean!

This morning was the day for answered prayer and ocean fun. We had breakfast in one of the dining rooms that provided us a window smack dab next to us at almost ocean level. As we sat eating all of a sudden there was a quick burst and there was, what appeared to be a school of dolphins jumping not too far from us. People jumped over to the window to see the show, but it was so quick they missed it.

That was the warm-up for this evening. I had decided after dinner to go down to level 6 and walk around the deck for a few laps. As I was rounding a corner I caught something in the water. I ran to the rail and saw a beautiful whale jump up into the air. I started to scream and squeal out of sheer exuberance. I had no idea if anyone was around me or not I just was too excited to keep my joy to myself. There was another lady walking along who joined me at the rail as we continued to watch for a few minutes as probably at least three whales jumped up in the air, showing off their docile fin for us and one showed us most of his entire body! It was so cool! We both giggled as the whales gave us quite a wonderful show.

I then kept walking and went around the back of the ship. All of a sudden I noticed some puffs of water and there, again, were some whales performing. I started to whoop and shout. I can’t help myself – I love wildlife and the natural magnificence that their God-given beauty provides….I was enthralled. There were probably a dozen people watching the sunset, but not one had seen the whales spouting – until I showed them. One young man next to me got so excited it was sweet. He was Chinese and from Guangzhou where we had been last summer. This time the whales show lasted about 20 minutes. I thought of the verse in Psalm 119:68a…“You are good – and what you do is good!!” Yippee Jesus!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts from Skagway, Alaska

There have been so many wonderful aspects of this cruise- - I knew it was going to be good, but I just had no idea how good…and it has been better than I could have even imagined! And there have been some unexpected surprises and delightful moments between just the Lord and I. I love hearing His voice….it is such an adventure!! It has been extra special to have extended periods of time just between He and I.

One of the things He spoke to me about was how to pray for our kids. I have a little prayer book with lists for each of the kids that I pray for each of them specifically, but He told me to get even more specific and to pray prophetically for each of them daily.

Dwight and I take naming our kids really seriously and so we have named our children after people that we deeply admire (from the Bible or life). On this cruise I have spent a good amount of time making new prayer lists for our kids. For just a little example….I have been writing things down that the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah did in his life. One of the things that I discovered written about him was that Isaiah feared God…so I have on my list that I am praying that our little Isaiah will fear God. I have long lists so far and I am intent on praying specifically through each list daily, if possible.

This world is a serious place and there is an all out plan to siege the hearts and minds of our kids so we must be intentional and pray, pray, pray!
Today we disembarked in Skagway, Alaska. It is a quaint little village, kind of old fashioned with a bit of Russian flair. I did some shopping and then went on an excursion – all by myself. When I was trying to decide what excursion to do today I studied the little booklet up and down. I finally decided to take a kayak trip to see wildlife. It sounded peaceful and that there would be some physical effort – which sounded perfect! BUT no one else signed up for it so it was cancelled – bummer!! I had to pick something else. There were a few that sounded great so I had to choose.

One was a trip up to the top of a mountain pass with a view of Canada. They then would give me a bike to ride downhill to the bottom. My favorite thing in the world to do was to ride a bike so I thought that would be great. THEN I remembered my bike accident. What was I thinkin’? I even laughed outloud when I realized that I had just had the bike accident and would even consider riding downhill from a mountain pass. I must be nuts sometimes!

So then I was looking and saw a horse back riding excursion to see the sights up in the mountain. Now that sounded good. Then I remembered my horse experience this past summer. Now if you are reading this post and think I am adding some drama to make you laugh you are totally wrong!! I totally thought the bike ride sounded great until I remembered and I totally thought that the horseback riding would be great until I again remembered!! All I can say is that it must be menopause that is making me not think clearly!

Anyway, I ended up doing a float down a river in an Eagle Preserve. It was peaceful and serene. I saw about 35 eagles, which was super cool and on the way back I saw a whale. A very sweet day indeed! I’m packing up to go back to my cabin and order ice cream from room service. What flavor do you want??

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Juneau, Alaska!!

Heading for the Glacier!! See the Ice chunks! BRRRR

Juneau, Alaska! Who would’ve ever guessed that’s where I would be one day. Crazy! I always thought it would be so cool to go to Alaska, but just never really guessed that I would have the opportunity – how cool my God is!

Early this AM Mom and Linda left on their “shore excursion” to see the whales and I settled into the room. I thought about sleeping, but realized that sleeping has never been one of my favorite things to do, so opted to order room service instead. Looking at the menu I found an omelet that sounded pretty good. Did I notice that strawberry shortcake was on the menu also? Mmmmm! Now we’re talking.

I called Room Service. Bless these poor guys hearts but not many have been speaking English very long. I worked very hard to tell him that I wanted an omelet with mushrooms (yes I absolutely love fungus!), green peppers, and ham - minus the onions. I also ordered a strawberry shortcake. Actually I thought of cancelling the omelet and just ordering two shortcakes – but I didn’t….a girl has to have a little self-respect.

Since we were in port I called Dw. No answer! Then I called the house phone. Liberty answered and was so excited to talk to me. (She told me that Daddy had left early this AM for a meeting and she and Isaiah were the only ones up.) I then talked to Isaiah who told me that he missed me and asked me “When you come home?” =) Golly I miss that little lovebug. I then was told by both of them that they were a bit aggravated with each other. Isaiah wanted to watch Mulan again and Liberty wanted to watch something else. I decided to settle that little scuffufal right then and there –from Juneau, Alaska. I told them that I thought they both ought to have an ice cream cone. Liberty said, “Are you kidding mommy?” “Nope,” I said through my own giggles, “if Mommy can break the rules this week, so can you!” She started to giggle and with added enthusiasm said, “OKAY!” We talked a few minutes more and she hung up to make cones for her and Isaiah. It was all of 8:00am in Colorado and Mommy had already solved a little crisis from Alaska – oh yeah, now we’re talkin – what a productive day this was going to be!

About 10 minutes later my cell rang. It was Emmy. Here’s what Emma said, “Mom, I just woke up and came out and found Liberty and Isaiah eating the most giant ice cream cones ever, absolutely crammed full of ice cream. I asked Liberty who said she could have ice cream and she said, ‘mom did’. I told Liberty that mom’s not here and she said you told her over the phone. Is that true?” I was laughing and assured her that Liberty was accurate – life is short – this week Mommy’s having some fun and so should they! That calls for ice cream at 8:00am in my book! She was laughing by now and hung up to go have some too.

By about this time there was a knock on the door and it was room service. When I opened the door I noticed the tray had lots on it. I went to take my plates off the truly loaded tray and the guy asked if he could come in? I said he could and he walked in and put the whole tray on the bed. He kind of glanced around my empty room. I wondered what he was thinking cause he had the most peculiar look on his face.

He left and I looked at the tray. That poor guy taking my order had sent me THREE omelets all on separate plates and one strawberry shortcake plate. No wonder the delivery guy was looking around. He was probably thinking, “What kind of piglet eats three omelets and a strawberry shortcake herself?” Of course I was thinking the same thing. Three omelets and a shortcake!!

What to do? Well I decided that since I really don’t love the eggs but am more of an “guts” person I opted to eat all the mushrooms, peppers and ham out of each one and leave the eggs. Why not? Then I topped it off with the shortcake. Totally yummy!!

I grabbed a shower and headed off the ship. Now you have to understand, and those closest to me know….after my painful past there was lots of healing that needed to happen in my life. I had lived in torment and fear for many, many years and that fear had kept me in my own private prison. Going off by myself had not really been something I could do for many, many years….until my healing. My emotional healing from the devastation of sexual abuse began 23 years ago and that’s another story for another time, but suffice it to say that as I walked the streets of Juneau I rejoiced in what God has done over the years. Here I am walking alone and in perfect peace totally lovin’ life in a city a couple thousand miles from my family. Yipppeee Jesus! I kept praising Him for His faithfulness to me over the years! How rockin’ awesome my God is!

As I walking the sweet little Main Street of the village I turned to see the cutest little “shack”. It’s sign said, “Alaskan Crepe Escape – Crepes and Pastries”. I decided to meander over and check it out. There was a darling little sign out front that said at the top, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thes. 5:16-18 I took that as my sign and started immediately to GIVE THANKS for stopping here had to be the will of God!! The first special listed was an Almond Joy crepe….filled with nutella, almond flakes and coconut….I asked the young lady if this was the day that the crepes also had already had all the calories and fat grams removed and she assured me that, yes, she had already done it. Perfect!! I then ordered an Almond Joy Crepe and also a hot mocha (with whipped crème) and went and sat on a bench and soaked in the Alaskan beauty. My tummy was now smiling big time!

I did some shopping and found a couple of really sweet things for that hunka hunka hot handsome hubby of mine and for the kids.

Lest anyone think I am taking this “breakin’ all the rules” to a ridiculous level - all I know is that I am having at least two cups of Darjeeling tea and that will be 380 mg of protection… I’m covered – so not to worry – it’s all good! Just incase anyone thinks I'm only eating garbage - my salad!! Actually I asked the lady at the table next to me if I could take a picture of her salad - J/K

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Cause I Want To....

Cruising Alaska
Ketchikan, Alaska

Late last night I sat in the internet café finishing up the blog post and all of a sudden I felt pretty dizzy. Whew boy! What in the world? There it was again. Whew! If I was a drinkin woman I would have said I had waaaay too much, but knowing that was not the problem I turned to the young Asian girl working on her computer. She looked at me and said, “The boat is really going crazy.” I then looked at guests walking by and noticed them gripping hand rails. Whoosh what a thrill!!
No need to go to the nightclubs on board, we were rockin’ and rollin’ right here in the Internet Café.

I decided to pack it up and head back to the room. Good thing I did, my mother was getting anxious that I wasn’t back yet and was about to get dressed and come alookin’. **Relax now Mom, need I remind you that it was almost exactly 50 years ago that you pushed me out and I arrived standing on my own two feet? Yup, breech baby me!** =)

This morning we docked in Ketchikan, Alaska. Wooo Hooo – I am now officially in Alaska and cannot stop grinning!! I have dreamed of going to Alaska but definitely never would have imagined it possible. I remember as we were flying to China being so excited that we were just flying over the tip of Alaska and here we are and I am really here. Yippee Jesus!!

We were able to disembark and go to a Lumberjack show we had signed up for. It was fun and not corny. Afterward I was reading the information on the Lumberjacks and one was born in Pagosa (about an hour from our home) and two were from places in NY that we had lived or vacationed near – Canandaigua and Avon. That made it seem like ol’ home days way up here in Alaska!
Lumberjack Racing Up Pole

Ketchikan is a beautiful little seaside town, quaint and charming. After the show I decided to part shopping directions with Mom and Linda and headed off to ‘pamper’ myself a bit more and buy some fun things as well as shop for the kids and that sweet hunka-hunka hubby of mine!!

I found all kinds of deals and saved Dw a bunch of money!!! Yes, indeed, the bargains were amazing. I love the stuff I have bought so far. I managed to find some fun stuff for me as well and was grinning a bunch with all my sweet purchases while strolling back to the ship.

As I was walking around the little village before heading back to the ship I passed a little seaside shack that sold Clam Chowder (New England style). I passed thinking, “Hmmm, that sounds soooo good.” EEEERRRRRRRRRR- brakes squealing!!!! I backed up and took a look. Now on any given day I would have looked and kept going…but then I remembered how proud my hubby and family would be if I helped myself to a bowl, all impromptu and without any real reason, “just cause I want to.” Wooo Hooo!! It was some of the best clam chowder I have ever eaten. (And yes, Marianthe, I can not only see the water, but I could smell it too!) Talk about lovin’ this trip!! Sweet fun to remember forever! Chowder Shack

We are sailing again and tomorrow will be docked in Juneau. Mom and Linda are signed up to go on an excursion Whale Watching. I, on the other hand, am staying in our cabin and ordering room service! I have only had room service once in my life, I think. BUT tomorrow I am going to stay in my nightie and order whatever I want, just cause “it’s all about me”!! Then I will eat it and read and spend some time with our Almighty and Super Cool God and then stare out the window and eventually get dressed and head off the ship to explore Juneau all alone. Does it get any better than that? I somehow have my doubts. Want to join me?
PS - Look!! The Cruise Ship Staff does their towels in little shapes just like I always do for my family - LOL!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Breakin' All My Own Rules

Immediately after we found out that Sister Mary couldn’t go on the cruise Dw starting harassing me to go. I just couldn’t imagine it. I have spent my life taking care of my family and loving on them – happily – without any real break. Jubilee will be coming home soon and there will be more after that. A mommy vacation would not be likely in the future, at least for awhile.

In fact it was not that long ago that I kind of mentioned to the Lord that I could use a little rest from all the responsibilities. I didn’t make a big deal of it, just a few whispered words to Him.

So as we were driving down the road last Thursday, with Dw urging me to go and the kids chanting, “Go! Go! Go!” (at Dw’s persuasion) I began to think that this was likely the Lord’s provision to my little prayer. In the midst of it all, Emma leaned forward and said, “You know Mom it’s never about you – it’s time to have a treat and make this cruise all about you!” Her words made me laugh! She was right! It is easy, with a large family, to be so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that pamper time is unheard of.

Emma’s words keep echoing in my noggin and I decided that I need to make sure that I do some really indulgent things these next few days. My family will be so proud of me!!

So today, after lunch my mom and her friend decided that they needed a little nap. Perfect!! I decided it was time to escape. I grabbed the book I am reading at the moment (The Heavenly Man) and decided that I would head to the library to read quietly. As I was walking there I thought, “Come on Linny – get a little creative! You are alone and there is no one to answer to or provide care for – go wild girl!” *sigh* I gave myself a little pep-talk (I’m not really kidding either.) I was being so “good” I was annoying myself. Then I remembered what our old friend John (who died a few years ago) used to say, “Go Big or Stay Home” and at that point I decided to break all the rules!!

First stop – the ice cream bar. You know the one that I had mentioned Mom and Linda going to? Yeah, that one. Throwing caution to the wind and opting for the “rolling back to Colorado look” I had chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and butterscotch sauce and peanut M&M’s (my fav) on it. The guy who made it handed it to me and said in his little broken English, “It will be very sweet!” Yeah dude - my point exactly! *yummm*

I went and sat down in a comfy chair and stared out the window while enjoying my little sundae. Then I noticed that not that far from me were some shrimp bowls with cocktail sauce. Hmmmm. Did I mention it was time to pamper me? The shrimp was so yummy that I thought the second dish would probably be just as good as the first. Double yummm! They were huge shrimp too. All the while just soaking in the pine trees we were passing as we cruised on by. (And pine trees are my most favorite tree ever – if only I could smell them too – but I’m not that good of a swimmer!)

As I was heading back with my second dish of shrimp I noticed the dishes of chocolate mouse/cake thingys. They were calling to me, “Come on girl – taste me!” I kept trying to tell them to quiet down but their whispers turned to screams – GET OVER HERE LADY and GIVE US A TRY!” I just had to make them stop screaming as they were starting to disturb the other guests.

They were chocolate and espresso (just like the one from last night). Oh my!! Totally yummy. While eating that I had a cup of coffee. I felt so naughty. I would never let the kids eat like this, but heck yeah, there are no kids to be good examples for. All the while just staring out the window and praying for things that are on my heart. Can anyone spell Y-I-P-P-E-E J-E-S-U-S? Too fun!!

Within about 45 minutes I had eaten the ice cream, chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, peanut M&M’s, two small bowls of large shrimp with cocktail sauce, a cup of coffee, a chocolate/espresso cake thingy….my tummy was feelin it…so I decided to chase it down with a cup of tea. I chose Darjeeling. It was so soothing. While sipping it I noticed that there are “190 mg of protective antioxidants” in each serving. Thank goodness for that! =) I am so relieved and since it didn’t say what all those little antioxidants are protecting me from I decided to ponder on that awhile. Here’s what I came up with - my guess is that they are protection against: cholesterol, fat grams, sugar, cellulite on my legs, multiple chins, hormonal changes, right?

Well that’s my story anyway and I’m stickin to it.

Day One from the Norwegian Sun

Greetings from the Norwegian Sun somewhere along the coast of Canada!! Yesterday my flight was wonderful. I was able to meet up with my mom and her longtime friend Linda (who lives in Buffalo). My cousin Allen lives in Vancouver and we were able to have lunch with him. It was a special treat to see him!

When you hear about a cruise, usually the first thing someone mentions is the food. So why deviate from tradition? The food is wonderful. Last night we ate at one of the inclusive restaurants….all kinds of exotic things. I ordered a salad and M’Hai M’Hai. (I love fish and as Marianthe told me what her father once told her, “If you can’t see the water, don’t eat the fish!”) Well we sure can see the water – everywhere and that fish was so yummy! Now the cool thing about a cruise is that you can order as many plates as you wish. So I sure did order – three plates of my favorite – salad!! It was so yummy and I was tickled with that! I love salad!

Dessert was pretty tasty too, chocolate and espresso all missed into one. Mmmmmm! And no I only ordered one of those.

At the moment, the weather is cloudy and chilly. The ship has been swaying a bit and even some of the waitresses this morning at breakfast looked alittle green around the gills.

Linda and mom have headed to the ice cream shop to partake. I would rather type you guys, and besides if I eat all the options here I would probably have to roll all the way back to Colorado.

I cannot get the pictures to download YET. I will keep working on solving this problem.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Denver Airport

Here I sit in the Denver airport waiting for my flight to whisk me away to Vancouver, BC. I am tickled to pieces that there is FREE wifi in the airport - wooo hooo! Does it get any better than that? For those who might be thinking, "Gracious Linn you are addicted" well you are right. I can't help myself and although there are probably 12 step programs to get over my addiction as I understand it I think you have to want to get over it for the 12 steps to work. And the odds of me wanting to are not looking good anytime soon.

As I was walking through the airport this morning I was overwhelmed with God's goodness to me. Only 3-1/2 short years ago this trip would probably not have been possible or at least I would have not attempted it.

Back in 1988 I had my first symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. I woke up one day and jumped out of bed only to find that there was absolutely no feeling in my legs and I fell in a heap beside our bed. Dw had to come around and lift me into the bed. Later that day my legs felt normal again and although I couldn't imagine what was wrong, I never mentioned it to anyone. From that day forward it would randomly happen. I remember at one point asking Dw if his legs ever felt like they were "empty" (fully expecting him to say "of course they do") but instead he said he had no clue what I meant.

Over the next few years as this happened I still never mentioned it to anyone, until 1991. We were visiting sweet friends of ours in Gaithersburg, MD and the hubby was, at the time, in Medical school to specialize and become a Neurologist. I thought I would mention it to him. So he gave me a little evaluation in their family room and at the end I said, "So Stuart what do you think it is?" He said, "Linn, I think you have Multiple Sclerosis."

WOW! I had thought he would say I had arthritis or something (Biology was never my strongest subject in high school) like that and so I decided that right then and there that we were not going to talk about that anymore. I never told Dw what Stuart had said and Stuart never mentioned it again. Whew! Denial is so much more fun at times!

Over the years the MS would ebb and flow and eventually there was no denying it. I ended up in a MS specialists office in Miami, FL. My symptoms were now very aggressive and I could no longer walk without a cane and at times was even in a wheelchair (affectionately named Charlie by me). At times I would tell the kids, "Charlie's gonna' have to go with us."

Eventually my right arm and hand trembled 24/7 with never a break and I had exacerbations that affected my speech (slurred like I was intoxicated), my eye, etc. It was really not all that much fun.

So as the years had progressed so did my balance issues and I would even fall in public. My legs dragged and I fought to not use a wheelchair. Somedays I had to climb in Charlie, but if at all possible I would just drag my legs wherever I went.

This morning as I was hastily walking my now-healed legs through the airport I was struck with God's amazing love for me. He healed my arm instantly on January 10, 2006 and He slowly healed my legs over the next 6 months of that same year. I was healed so that I didn't need a cane anymore and haven't used one since July 2006. I tell our church that my instant healing of my arm/hand trembling was God's "microwave healing" and my legs were much slower and I call them God's "crock pot" healing.

So with the MS aggressive just three years ago I would have had little courage to head alone to the cruise ship. Having fallen in public on several occasions my guts had waned and I preferred staying close to home.

BUT GOD!! He is Jehovah Rapha and He has healed so much of my life. He has healed me physically and He has healed me emotionally from the sexual abuse that was part of my past. He is always faithful!! There has never been a moment in history that He has removed His faithfulness from my life.

So as I embark on this great adventure it is with utmost humility remembering "from whence I came" and with complete gratitude that the God of the universe should care about me enough to touch my life with His Jehovah Rapha power.

They are about to board - I need to RUN to the gate!! =) Thank you Jesus!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Change of Plans

Yesterday morning I met my mom at a local coffee shop to buy her a quick cup of coffee before she went to the airport to fly to British Columbia. A sweet friend of hers had heard how much my mom has always wanted to go to Alaska and they treated her and two friends of her choice to an Alaskan cruise. She had asked me to go but I understood her to say that she would be gone for two weeks. I knew that I could not be gone for two weeks so I declined. She ended up asking my sister-in-law Mary (affectionately called Sister Mary by us) and an old friend, Linda.

Later in the day Dw and the kids and I were heading to Colorado Springs. On the way I mentioned that my mom had left a message saying that Sister Mary might not be able to go because her mom was very, very sick and in the hospital. Without hesitation Dw said, "Linny you should take her place!" I said, "Come on Dw, you know all the responsibilities I have...." He said, "I will take care of it all!" (oh my) I said, "Ummm, no, I don't think so." He assured me he would take over my duties in caring for the kids so that I had nothing to worry about. Somewhere around this statement Emma leaned forward and said, "Mom, not to worry, I will be here." With that word from Emma I smiled. She is more than capable.

Within a few hours the plans were set and I am flying early Sunday morning to British Columbia to board a cruise ship and head to Alaska with my mom and her friend. For the record, I am excited. BUT I am also willing to admit that I am stepping way, way, way, way out of my comfort zone. I have never been on a cruise. I never leave my kids. I like routine. I like to plan way out in advance. Most of all I love being home with my kids. I will miss them incredibly. *waves of panic wisping over me*

I went to Sam's today and bought a camera since my old one had broke. So tomorrow we head for our class, afterward Dw will drive home with the kids and I will stay with Jo until Sunday AM when I embark on a trip that I had no idea I was going on just 36 hours ago. *yikes*

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This and That

While we were away for our 30th anniversary I had the innkeeper take this picture. Only problem was it never showed up on my phone. I couldn't imagine what happened to it. I had made sure I saved it. So today I was sitting at the hospital looking through my pictures on my cell phone and there it was. That is just too weird. I had looked and looked and looked. Anyway, since it finally showed up, here it is.

Today we leave for Colorado Springs. We have to take our last parenting class to qualify for the State of Colorado. They won't send Jubilee's home study in until we have this class done. Colorado requires 24 credit hours of in class training. Denver is where the class is at and it's conveniently located about 8 hours (one way) from our home. So on Saturday at approximately 11:00am Mountain time we will officially be prepared to parent - (our 8th child). **smile** I'm sure everyone will be relieved to know that.

The kids are excited to be doing a little trip and we will be staying at Jo's house. She is my sweet friend who I have known since we were kids. We will have lots of laughs I am sure.

The remodel is coming along quite nicely. I am giddy with anticipation.

Oh! I was at the hospital having some tests run. It appears there are yet some more complications from the bike accident. If the fall itself wasn't bad enough all the things that happened as a result have complicated matters. I guess I now have some thing going on that I have never heard of and I can't pronounce. For the record, it is not as much fun as it all sounds and I am thinking that this summer before I am about to turn the big 5-0 is going down in the record books!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blogging According to Two of My Teenagers

Two of our kids, Emma and Graham, were riding in the truck with me last night. All three of us were snuggled up in the front seat. We are a snuggly family and even riding together would rather squish upfront. Emma and Graham are the closest in age (so far). They are 18 months apart and have always been good, good buddies. They are always funny to listen to. Emma just turned 15 and Graham is 13-1/2.
Last night as we were riding there was a slight lull in our lively conversation and so I started to pray outloud. The kids are used to this. I like to spontaneously continue my ongoing conversation outloud to the God who not only died for me but loves me (inspite of myself).

So I started, "Oh by the way Lord, could you please provide such-n-such at Home Depot when I swing in there now? I know it's not too difficult for you although I know that Home Depot normally doesn't carry this." As I paused Emma said, "Yes, Lord, Mom needs something to blog about today." I turned to Emma who was sitting next to me. She was grinning from ear to ear. She gets a kick out of my blogspot and I guess she thought Him providing this would make a good story.

As the conversation turned to blogging, Graham talked about his own blog. He started it while Dw and Emma were in Africa. She had no idea until last night when Graham mentioned his blog that he had one. He said, "I have a blog ya' know Emma. But I can't remember what I called it and I definitely don't remember my password." She said, "YOU are writing a blog? Like you mean you really are going to write?" (He is notorious for not liking to write anything, including his home school journal.) So Emma was shocked that Graham would have a blog.

To which Graham replied, "No Emma! I'm not going to write! I just started a blog cause I was bored one night."
And for the record, Home Depot did not have what I was looking for and yet, I still got a story out of the conversation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Extreme Kitchen Makeover

Two years ago we purposed to get out of mortgage debt so we could adopt more kids **smile** , go on more mission trips and give away more freely. The home we were living in at the time we had built on a cliff at 7400 ft above sea level. It was not fancy schmancy, but just a large (4,029 sq ft) mountain home with gorgeous views. We saw bear walking on the rim of the canyon and yes, we even saw mountain lion - twice! Yikes! But it was beautiful!

Back when we were readying to move into that big home I said to Abigail how I wished I could get a garden in that summer. She said, "MOM! You bought a cliff, where in the world are you going to put a garden?" It was true. The deck was the back yard and the driveway was the front yard...other than that there was basically no flat land to use. The house was on a ridgeline and even turning around in the driveway was nearly impossible. BUT oh the view!! It backed up to a sweet canyon (with no neighbors - my favorite part!)....and it had a breathtaking view of the Rockies. Our friends, Stuart and Jen, came from Phoenix to visit and questioned the sanity of having the guest room the one with the view as they said, "No one is going to want to leave."

It was a beautiful home, no doubt. But beautiful homes don't buy happiness and you can't take them with you into eternity, so what was the point? Mortgage debt was keeping us from doing the things we were not only created by God to do, but the very things we LOVE doing. So the house went on the market. We had so many showings on that house that I lost count somewhere towards 40. UGH.

Keeping a house clean for possible showings on a daily basis with a large family is nearly impossible, but when we are home all the time doing was crazy. So when the house finally sold we all were so glad to move.

Now our home is outside town on 3 sweet little acres totally tucked in from the world. Square footage wise, living in this sweet little log home has presented its challenges. I kept wondering why I couldn't get things truly organized? I thought maybe I had lost my touch....and then I had Dw measure. 2,011. OH! That explains it!! No wonder it was a bit tricky to organize. =) (The paperwork had said it was 2,200 sq ft.)

Our plan was to put an addition on the house and so we had plans drawn up for an addition. But then we got the bids. Okay, scratch that.

One of the things that has been especially challenging was the kitchen. No cupboard space to speak of and only a teeny, tiny pantry. So after much prayer and thought we decided to reconfigure the existing kitchen. We played with all sorts of configurations, and finally came up with one that we really believe will work.

So this past week-end our "son" Ben came over to help with the tear out. Ben is one of our "kids". He adopted us as much as we adopted him. He is included in holidays and family fun since he is our son. When I see him at church he says, "Hi Mom" with a big smile. Ben had lost his dad a few years ago so he is loving having Dw as his new, adopted Dad. Ben had had many struggles when we met him and we have marveled at all that God has done in his life. His countenance has even changed - no doubt the miracle working power of Almighty God.

Graham and Ben Tearing Out

These last few months we have been praying with Ben that the Lord would bring someone special along for him. And in walked Kelly, who also attends our church. So on Sunday when Ben came over to help with the kitchen he brought Kelly He said that she needed to meet his parents. =) She is a sweetie and they look so adorable together!
Ben and Dw

So the old kitchen is basically gone and a contractor is working on moving windows and doors, redoing the floor, setting the cabinets in and eventually putting all the pieces back together again.

Over the next few weeks we will, Lord willing, see an awesome transformation - oh I can't wait!! It's going to look sooooo spiffy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Birds of A Feather??


On this little tiny farmette we are blessed to have six outdoor cats that work on the mice and rodents -----the three adult cats (Bruster, Bailey, and Gimbya), three baby kittens (Senge, Junior and Prissy), one black lab mix named Lucy, one Schnauzer puppy named Nelly, two chickens (DC - which Dw named and stands for Dumb Cluck - obviously he just doesn't appreciate our feathery friends----and the other one is named Chicken - Graham's most creative name), a tur-ken affectionately named Ping by Isaiah, Mr. Ezekiel our rooster and two horses - Mistletoe (currently looking for a home) and Daisy. Amazingly enough, all of the animals peacefully co-exist.

Today Emma put some stale bread soaked in a dab of milk out and the kitties, chickens and of course, Ezekiel, ate together happily. My camera is currently broke, so the pics could only come from my cell phone, so they are not quite optimal.
On a side note, when Tyler was home on leave he informed me when he woke up the first morning here that he did not have the attachment for Ezekiel that I have (putting it nicely) and when I left to go somewhere he and dad would probably make him "disappear". (It was all talk and I kept laughing everytime he said it.)

That's Ping the Tur-ken on the right

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Modern Day Miracle

At the end of May we were blessed to be able to go to Virginia Beach so Dw could do a wedding for our friend's daughter. They paid for Dw, myself and our four youngest kids flights, rental car and even gave us two waterfront hotel rooms in Virginia Beach. It was such a blessing from the Lord as I had been praying that the Lord would provide a really nice vacation for free. =) (That in itself is a miracle!)

While there we decided to rent these little bike/car thingys that are used to peddle up and down the boardwalk. Some of these things seat more than 6 and have three seats. One of the nights there we rented one and we all climbed on and peddled all the way down the boardwalk to the complete opposite end. It was lots of fun and we had plenty of laughs.

At some point on the bike ride Dw took off the hat/ballcap he was wearing and put it inside a sweatshirt that we had tucked on one of the back seats. Now the ballcap that Dw had been wearing was not just any ballcap. It was an Army Ranger cap that Tyler gave him just before he deployed - making it full of sentimental value!! It has an American Flag on it that velcros on....incase they are captured, then they peel the flag off....And to top it off, Tyler was deployed during this time we were at Virginia Beach. March 08 - Saying good bye at the airport - right before Tyler Deployed- Dw is wearing the treasured hat Tyler had just given him

This particular night there was also a free concert going on at the far end of the Boardwalk and so there were zillions of people streaming up and down the Boardwalk. After going the entire length on that bike thingy we arrived back at the hotel and Dw went to get that extra special hat of his and it was nowhere. I mean nowhere. The sweatshirt had been unwrapped and it was gone. Dw was very upset, almost crying. He loved that hat and it felt each time he wore it like a connection to our precious son.

There is something as a military parent that happens when your child is away. It becomes easy to cling to anything that represents their life - and this very hat was one of those things!!
We prayed immediately and asked God to show us where it was. We rode around and looked for it. But this was not just even a normal night on the Boardwalk. It was a psycho night on the Boardwalk and it was now dark. I told Dw I just knew that I knew that I knew that he was going to get that hat back.

So we prayed some more about it and eventually drove in the rental car up the road. I got out where I sensed the Lord was leading and looked around all the while praying for a mighty miracle. As I prayed I just KNEW that we were going to find that hat. I knew that I knew that I knew.

God's word is clear, "You have not because you ask not." It also says that, "Nothing is too difficult for Him." Well this would be right up there as near impossible and I know that there is NO GOD LIKE JEHOVAH...and so He just gets a big kick out of answering our amazingly tricky needs.

But we didn't find it.

The next morning I still was 100% confident we would find it. Dw rented a little bicycle and rode the entire Boardwalk while I stayed in the room with the kids and prayed. I interceded big time as he peddled away. I told him to look at the top of fences and poles as I could just picture it on those. I prayed, "Lord you know exactly where that hat is, would you please put it somewhere where we can find it."

Inspite of his riding up and down the beach and all our prayers, still he did not find it. Hmmmm. That day we left the beach and headed up the coast to Liberty's birth mom's home to celebrate Liberty's birthday and have a reunion with Liberty's birth family. I felt sick to my stomach that we did not have that hat in our car.

Days passed and we eventually headed back to Colorado. We thought about that hat. It truly was so very special to us and we just really felt the loss of it.

Well there are times in life where I am so sure of something that the Lord is going to do, but then it seems that I am thrown a curve ball. This was one of those times. I had been absolutely confident that God was going to do something miraculous and we would rejoice and praise His name when we found that hat. After all, it would be a miracle to find it on a normal day - but a crazy day with a concert going on and zillions of people there - even more miraculous.

I remember shaking my head in confusion. I had felt He was going to do something big and yet we didn't find it. I am not a person who just "claims" it. I have to know that I am confident that what God is speaking to me or impressing upon me, He will do. I had had that confidence that night we lost the hat and even the next day.

You know how it is, there are times that the Lord will impress things upon your heart and you know that you know that you matter how the circumstances look - it is going to happen!! I think of my sweet friend Marianthe.

Infact just today, over breakfast, Dw and I were telling a close friend of ours about Marianthe's miraculous story....Marianthe and her husband had been in the midst of a Guatemalan adoption for their son Creighton Gideon. (Infact her blog is listed in my favorite blog section.) Anyway, several things happened in the midst of it....(1)New Guatemalan adoptions were halted because of fraudulent practices. Although Marianthe's was "safe" because they were already in it, things became complicated. (2) Their agency went under investigation and the director of it had charges put against her. You might recognize the director's face from the Prime Time and 20/20 investigations....definitely not a good thing when your little one is being adopted through her agency. (3) Creighton's birth mom had disappeared shortly after his birth and had not come for DNA testing. (4) Time was running out. (5) Marianthe, with their agency now under investigation could not get any answers out of them. (6) Time was really, really running out. (7) If something didn't happen sometime around July 1st Creighton would be put in the orphanage and not be able to be adopted - EVER! (8) The birth mom had not been seen or heard from in months and months. (9) Time continued to run out and the birth mom was no where.

At this point the situation for Creighton looked desperate and actually, from a human standpoint, it looked impossible. EXCEPT GOD. Yes, EXCEPT God. Only an Almighty, All Powerful, All Knowing, Miracle Working God could do something, and probably to many people that wouldn't even look like there was much hope.

As Marianthe and I talked and prayed we were reminded of the words that are in the song listed below in the Playlist on this blog...."Days of Elijah"...and in that song it says, "There is NO GOD LIKE JEHOVAH." Whenever we listen to that song our faith is built up and our hearts are so very encouraged...and I knew that I knew that I knew that Creighton would come home. I had no clue how God was going to do it, but I had the faith to believe it because God had spoken it to my heart that He was going to move. I had no idea HOW the Lord would do it and at one point I told Marianthe that Creighton might just be dropped from the sky to her doorstep, but God WOULD do it.

Now it does seem over and over in my life that Jehovah loves to show up at the last second....when to many there would be really no hope left....and for Creighton this was no exception....Jehovah of the Last Second showed up BIG TIME...supernaturally the Birth mom came out of hiding (literally) - ON HER OWN - and did the DNA testing and signed the papers and we will never, ever forget what ALMIGHTY God did - and before long Mr. Creighton Gideon will be in his mommy's arms and come home to his forever family...and even our family living in Colorado will throw a party here to celebrate!!!Yippee Jesus!

So back to the hat. I had the same confidence that I did with Creighton, only it didn't happen. Despite our best efforts searching, we came home to Colorado without it. I was perplexed. I know His voice and I know His promptings and I was 100% sure - and yet we didn't find it.

UNTIL...two weeks ago - I was cleaning in our bedroom. I was in one of those, "move everything in the room and vacuum under it all." I was upstairs in Dw's and my bedroom and we have a hope chest that sits at the foot of our bed. I decided to even push that heavy thing out of the way to vacuum around and under it. As I pushed the hope chest aside I looked on the floor and (I am laughing with a giddyness that only comes with miraculous happenings as I type) there, on the floor was that hat!!!

I am not joking. I screamed. I yelled to Dw. He came running as I stood there giggling and staring at that hat in absolute shock. There is no mistake - the hat is here!! Now we have no explanation other than that God took that hat and had angels put it in safe keeping and then carry it to our bedroom for yet another modern day miracle - 2 months after we lost it!!! We have laughed in awe as we have looked at that hat....THERE IS NO GOD LIKE JEHOVAH!!!

So my promptings had been right - we "found" the hat....only 2,000 miles from where we lost it!! ((LOL)) We praise Almighty God for His miraculous work in our lives and once again, we tell another story of how God the Father LOVES to be involved on a day to day basis with each of his kids - meeting needs and caring for all the things that are concerns and cares to us...Working behind the scenes to carry a ballcap 2,000+miles home to the Army Dad who loves his precious son!! Yippee Jesus!!

A Special Letter

The Boys at African Hearts in Kampala, Uganda Singing a Song of praise for Dw and Emma

A few posts ago I mentioned what a good daddy my hubby is. This morning Dw was reading in our bedroom and I was in the shower. I heard him laugh with a laugh that meant his tender heart was involved. I called from the shower, "What's going on?" He said through tears, "I just got a letter from Tonny."

Tonny is the young man who Dw spent a great deal of time in Africa with. He took Dw and Emma several places as their guide. He is also part of the Leadership Team at African Hearts where Dw ministered. African Hearts is a ministry to young men who have been taken off the streets from lives of deep pain and ministered to. The leadership team themselves were also once on the streets, but came to Christ and spend their days ministering to boys much like themselves. Tonny had been one of the young who does not have a father and Dw told him that he would be his father.

The following is the letter that Dw received from Tonny this morning. Dw and Emma took Tonny for pizza in Kampala and Tonny had never had pizza before. Tonny is currently in law school but as you can tell from the letter Dw's visit had quite an influence on him. (And I'm sure Tonny was even more drawn to Dw as Dw was a lawyer for 11 years as well long ago.)

Please pray with us for Tonny and the other young adults who have come off the streets. They are in desperate need of true parenting (even from afar) and examples of Christ's tremendous love. The letter's subject was: Hello Dad?

This is your son Tonny from Uganda,am so blessed to have this chance to write to you it has been along time you left.i have always missed you but the books have not always given me time to say hullo to my Dad however i have always been praying for you as my Dad i can't forget the Pizza we always had lessons and your caring heart.i wish i could stay with you for a longer time i could learn alot from you,i now want to grow up and be like you,you teachings reduced my desire to be a lawyer and created a strong desire to be a Pastor am seriously praying for that.Dad how is Emma?also i am happy to let you know that i have enough money to come to U.S.A for a visit and may tour. i have completed my Diplomma and have a one year holiday so i hope to work on this month and maybe i travel in the coming month. will you give me an invitation? i will write more next time hope to hear from you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What If?

While Dw and I were away we went into a little shop that has now become my favorite little shop I have been in in a very long time. This shop was just so sweet and so my style. While browsing around it I found a little plaque. I scooped it up and had there been more I would have bought more. It is a constant reminder of God's faithfulness.

Just before our little anniversary trip I was talking to a close friend of mine. She is having some very real struggles with one of her teenagers. She said to me, "But I keep thinking about the 'what ifs'?" I told her, "You can't spend a moment on the 'what ifs?' you must spend the 'what if' time praying!!

Prayer is the only thing that will change anything. "What if" time doesn't change a thing. Worry doesn't change a thing. Only prayer changes things! Just imagine what would happen if we all spent all the "what if - worry" time praying? Would our situation change? You bet it would!

I am reminded of "Cast all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:7 How often I have decided that I needed to worry about something, instead of casting it on him? Too often!!! Then there have been seasons where I have had to cast my same care multiple times a day - over and over!! The thing about that is that He will honor my continual casting - He gives grace for my frail humanity!!

The 'what ifs' will drain you and me of strength, but prayer really does change things. Prayer opens doors that we couldn't ever have imagined being opened. Prayer changes peoples hearts. Prayer severs relationships that need to be severed. Prayer breaks habits that are hurtful. Prayer gives us wisdom in things we can't figure out. Prayer even moves foreign governments. Prayer gives us discernment. Prayer gives us strength. Prayer changes OUR heart. Prayer gives us peace. Prayer meets needs we have. Prayer moves mighty mountains. Prayer truly changes things....and on that note, I'm heading upstairs to spend some time in prayer! =)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Special Day

Panoramic Mountain View from Front of B & B

Celebrating 30 years of marriage doesn't really seem possible. If people were to ask me how old I feel, I would have to say I probably think I'm 27. Pretty hard to be married for 30 years when you are thinking you're 27. Don't get me wrong, post-menopausal and lots of hot flashes - I am reminded daily that I am not 27 - but I still feel 27 (most of the time). Actually, special thanks to menopause at the moment, because the I-can't-sleep-for-anything thing is an all too often occurence these days. So if every cloud has a silver lining, then working on our blog is the perk of the I-can't-sleep-for-anything-due-to-menopause thing.

We had wondered what to do to celebrate this special day. I have never been anywhere with white sand and thought it would be really special to go to maybe the Carribbean or to Hawaii. But with Jubilee's adoption and future adoptions, money is not in surplus and we definitely are convinced that debt is not something we want as a byproduct of "fun" (cause in the end, it's not really 'fun').

We have stayed at dozens of Bed and Breakfast's in our marriage and have had lots of really wonderful, refreshing experiences. So we looked around and ended up at a delightful little B & B about an hour from our home in a little resort community nestled in the mountains. I am truly a mountain girl (Dw's the ocean guy) and so I have reveled in these 2 nights enjoying the mountain views.

view of sunset when leaving dinner in town in town

Dw and I were talking one day a couple of years ago and I finally realized why I favor the mountains. (He just loves the ocean.) But what I realized is that the ocean is always moving. It is coming towards you in majestic power, crashing at your feet. But the mountains are still. They don't go anywhere (unless we pray!). I like to just sit and stare at the mountains and drink in their beauty. When I sit at the ocean and watch I get restless. I seldom have been able to relax at the ocean. Kind of an interesting thought for he and I.

Anyway, we found this delightful B & B and have had a blast. The owner, Darlene, has had extra special touches throughout our stay - including embroidered wash clothes that say our names with "Happy 30 Year Anniversary". She also made fruit parfaits yesterday with chocolate hearts standing up on them. Very sweet touches and very sweet lady.

Can you see the little chocolate heart?

Yesterday morning started with an email that we had been praying for. I cried as Dw read it aloud and we rejoiced all day long at the special news this email contained. How gracious of God to send such a love gift to begin our anniversary with.

We have had lots of fun talking with the people we have met along the way these three days. Their surprise that we have been married 30 years and that we are adopting our 8th child has been priceless.

We prayed that we would have God-encounters and have. Quite an adventure! We are, once again, reminded how much God loves us and how He directs our steps when we ask Him to. We cannot thank Him enough for His great blessing and mercy on our lives!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 12, 1978 & Now 30 Years Later

At 5:00pm on August 12, 1978 in Amherst, NY I married my husband Dw. We had dated a little over 2 years. I was so in love with him! He was my best friend. Thirty years later I am more in love with this precious man than I could ever have imagined possible. He is my soulmate and confidant and he is definitely MY HERO!

Thirty years later.....I still gleefully anticipate seeing him and I still burst into smile when he comes into view. When my cell phone rings his ringtone plays, "I just called to say 'I love you' " and my heart leaps. I can't wait to talk to him at any chance that we can snag even a few minutes throughout the day. Dw hears my heart and understands me better than anyone ever has. As God has continued to knit our hearts, dreams and goals together, we cannot help but stand in awe at how abundantly blessed we are.
We have lots of fun together too. We do crazy things in our home. I often tell the kids and Dw that "We have so much fun - it probably is illegal." We also have a rule for the friends of our kids..."What happens at the Saunders home, stays at the Saunders home." Our kids know that we are madly in love with each other and yes, we let it show. Our Abigail was home recently and blogged on her spot that "My parents are so in love and 30 years later they still have the hots for each other." =)

We laugh hysterically together. I am reminded of recently when we laid in bed laughing so hard I thought the kids would come to see what was wrong. We laughed until our sides were hurting.

Probably one of the things I love most about this handsome best friend of mine is how he helped me walk through my painful past. We had been married about 7 years when I began to have repressed memories surface of my molestation. I had been molested as a little girl for many years and had totally repressed any recollection of it all. It was a devastating time in my life! But God had, in His miraculous grace, allowed me to marry a man who would tenderly help me walk through all the painful memories, thoughts and feelings. Dw was such a comfort and encouragement, far beyond what most men are normally capable of.

Dw was an attorney back then and there were times when the Holy Spirit would prompt him that I was having an especially hard time and needed to talk to him. Dw would ask the judge for a recess and run to the pay phone. Sure enough I was at home praying that God would have Dw call and the phone would ring. He would comfort me and pray with me before heading back to the courtroom. The Lord was the ultimate healer of my past, but He definitely used Dw to minister to me through it. I now can speak publicly about the overcoming power of Almighty God to heal the painful memories of sexual abuse. Hundreds have heard my story and have been ministered to through it.

Dw loves our kids and is the best daddy I could ever imagine. He is a father to many others' kids as well. There are several kids at church, without a dad, who call him "dad". Katie, for instance is our Autumn's close friend. Her mom is a single mom and Katie has never met her dad. She was talking to us about it one day, not long after we moved here 4+ years ago and Dw told her, "I will be your dad, if you want." That was that and I will never forget walking down Main Street a short time later and hearing a young voice screaming, "Dad! Dad!" and looking to see Katie hanging out of her mom's car calling and waving with great enthusiasm to her Dad! It was precious!

Last month when Dw was in Africa ministering to the young African men involved in ministry there he asked a question..."How many of you grew up knowing your father?" Not one hand raised. Dw's heart was broken for these young men. He said, "Well I will be your father." He now gets emails from these young African leaders and they start with things like, "Dear Dad"....and end with "I love you Daddy".

Yes, this man of mine is truly my hero!

On the flip side, life is not perfect! We have to work hard at our marriage, because even though we get along so well and have so much fun together, it still needs to be nurtured and tended to. We have spent 30 years investing in our marriage and we have very good returns!

So tomorrow as we celebrate God's bringing us together I want to honor this man of God, my humble tender hearted husband and soulmate of 30 years....oh how truly blessed I am!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I have been thinking alot about God's promises lately. I wondered if anyone else ever has to remind themselves daily of their promises from God? It just seems that sometimes promises take forever to come to pass, doesn't it? Or sometimes we can just become so discouraged waiting.

Recently God gave a very specific prophetic word to Dw. It came in the form of a dream. It was two days before he left for Africa and as soon as he woke up he told me about it because he has not had many prophetic dreams (nor have I). It was very detailed and very interesting but we had no clue what it meant. One day, I will post about it specifically. But for now, we will have to wait on that.

Anyway, days passed and all of a sudden it was very clear what God was trying to tell us. OH MY GRACIOUS!!! We were so excited - we could hardly stand it. BUT for now we are in the waiting period to the fulfillment of that prophetic dream.

We both feel burdened as we wait, because there is so much at stake with that dream. Anyway, tonight Dw called me as he was headed into his office. He said that he had been praying as he drove and out of nowhere the Lord told him that he and I need to just praise Him for the fulfillment of that dream, even though it is not about to be fulfilled immediately. Hmmmm. Okay! I told Dw that I love when he hears from the Lord like that and that I am putting on my garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. I am rejoicing and praising Him and thanking Him even though I can't see the results yet. Yipppee Jesus - the dream will be fulfilled and then all the world will be able to hear the story of God's miraculous word and how He moved to bring that dream to pass. I am literally giddy at the thought of posting about it one day.
So I wonder, do you have a dream or word from God that you can't see the fulfillment of yet? Go back to that word, that dream or that scripture and remind Him that He is a good God and will bring it to pass. Then join together with us in thanking Him for what He is going to do for you, for us...
The songs that I have at the bottom of this blog include, at the top of the list, the Days of Elijah...that's where I love to start - because "there is NO God like Jehovah" and many times a day I double click on that song....and that's just what I'm going to do right now - BECAUSE "there is NO God like Jehovah...." - the PERFECT promise keeper!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Polly Pocket Arrives

Autumn was driving to Farmington, NM the other day to do some shopping. She saw a sign for Free Puppies. She is a sucker for every pet out there. I will never forget one of our Thanksgiving's when we were pastoring in Charlotte, NC. She came in to help me get the turkey ready. She was all of about 5 at the time. She saw the cold, naked bird and begged me to let her keep it under her bed and not cook it - even just for one day!! She wanted it to be her pet.
Autumn works for the Airlines and has an apartment not far from our home. We talk to her everyday and she stops in just about everyday also. The grown kids moving out thing is all good. And really, she can have all the pets she wants (even a dead turkey) if her landlord says ok!

So you can imagine how a kid who once wanted a dead turkey to be her pet would now have a hard time passing up a Free Puppy sign!! She stopped and the rest is history. Dw and I are happy to add yet another to our Grandpet list, making it now 3 dogs and 2 cats that our grown kids own.

She named her Polly, as in Polly Pocket. She can carry her in her purse or pocket - no problem! She weighs 2 lbs and I haven't heard her bark once while she is around me. I grandpet sat yesterday while Autumn was at work and she is just the sweetest little thing, totally a snuggle bug.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Matthew 18:19

"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:19

On July 21, 2008 I posted about a prayer ministry for the orphans that I was starting. I asked my "weirdo" friend (Jen) to join me. We soon added two more sweet intecessors (Marianthe and Lori) to the prayer team. Almost immediately after posting about the ministry I got an email...then another....then another....etc.

The very first request was from a family who were in the process of adopting a Waiting Child and their agency had given them a referral. Only the referral wasn't quite like they had they needed prayer...Was this little one the one for them?

I emailed her back and told her we would pray in earnest for wisdom, discernment, etc.

I get goose bumps and teary-eyed just thinking about it as I type. See, either way, we were praying for wisdom for them and a home for that little was a win-win! I got an email back from Jen after I sent her the request and she said she felt it was an absolute "yes" and as I prayed I, also, immediately felt like this was the little one for them. We, of course, kept our thoughts to ourselves. What would God tell them?

We pray daily for these requests and take it very seriously that people have entrusted their personal lives with our prayer team. When I send the requests to our little group of intecessors I keep them as anonymous as possible. If you are interested in being part of this prayer team, please just email me at:

Anyway, back to the story....About a week later I checked in to see how the decision making process was going....and she soon sent me an email with their new little ones picture - the very one that we had prayed for - who, by the way, is absolutely adorable and looks so much like their only special need is their very own mommy and daddy!! Yippee Jesus!!! We are thrilled for them and cannot wait to follow their journey.

Why does God want us to pray together for things? Who knows!! I just know He seems to get a total kick out of it when we agree together for things. It's His plan that we grow together, pray together and play together, all the while simply loving each other! Yipppee Jesus!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

When God Provides - He ALWAYS Does it Up GOOD!

A few posts ago I mentioned feeling like we were to be moving toward asking God to provide everything (and I mean everything, except probably undies) used.

We have lived like this for a long time, but just not to this extreme. I could take you on a tour through the house of all the things the Lord has provided used....but it was time to go bigger with it!

A couple of months ago we were on the East Coast and stayed with our sweet friends Jerry and AnnMarie. Ann Marie is expecting their 5th baby and she has learned some cool ways to organize and 'expand' the space she has. One of the things she has is an extra shower curtain rod at the back of her tub. It is to hang extra towels/clothes on. Hmmmm. Having 2 bathrooms and soon Jubilee will be heading home....and then of course, we are confident that there will be more...hence, I am always trying to make the most of the space we do have.

On a side note: Today Dw and I were able to have lunch together (alone!) and I mentioned having 13 kids one day and he said, "Linn I don't like the number 13, it has to be 14!" =) Yup, I like 14 better too.

Back to the shower rods.....I could head to the store to buy the two shower curtain rods, after all they are only a little over $10 each, but what fun is that? Why not ask the Lord to provide them at a yard sale? I had a little chat with the Lord and asked Him for two....oh how I love God adventures. I was almost giddy with anticipation.

This past Saturday we were able to go to several yard sales. At each one I would look around quickly and say in a whisper..."Okay, Lord, where are those two shower rods?" None at any. Hmmmm. Dw and Tyler went to work out so as I was heading home with the rest of the kids I remembered a yard sale up in Sky Ridge. I had wanted to go there but we hadn't. I prayed about it and felt the familiar tug from the Lord...and off we went to Sky Ridge.

As it turns out I got to chatting with the lady of the house and she has been praying about adoption. She had just moved here from out of state with her family. It was a fun visit. As I was turning to leave I spotted them....THREE Expandable Shower Curtain Rods! I almost ran to them. I said, "OHHHH! Shower Curtain Rods - how much are they?" She said, "Oh please, just take them - they're FREE - all three!!" I was whooping with delight - YIPPEE JESUS! I told her how I had been praying for two and here the Lord had provided THREE for FREE....does it get any better than that?? The Lord just loves to do "exceedingly abundantly above all we could think or ask"!!

What an awesome God we serve - I am so thankful that He is taking us on this adventure and He even cares about my need for shower rods!!

Lunch with Tyler at Zia's

Everytime Tyler is home on leave he takes me for a lunch date (at least one) to Zia's. It is "our spot". When he is deployed I can't drive by Zia's without tearing up and starting to cry. This week that Tyler has been home was so treasured by all of us. He loves his brothers and sisters and goes out of his way to show them so. They all adore him. He really is the funniest person I have ever met, with his quick wit and dry sense of humor.
We went to Zia's for our special time. He told me, in vague terms, about his deployment. It was a sobering conversation. Please continue to pray for our military and please continue to pray for their families. I am still processing all that we talked about.