Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Totally Forgot To Introduce You To...

Our Staff!!!!
Front center couple: Kelly & Ben (newlyweds!!)
Children's Pastor: Jen (green sweater) & her husband Billy in front of her...
Dw's immediate left: (Brenda with her husband) Kevin - he is our youth director
Very top of picture: Mark & Jill (to his right)
Above Dw & I: Steve & Lori (our son-in-love's parents)
Our Staff with Some of Their Kids.....
Just the Kids....
One of the reasons I had to show you their picture is because they are an awesome staff. I remember right after I returned from Africa with the babies Dw told me that two of our staff pastors had told them the Lord had shown them it was time to move on....(one went to fulfill his long-time dream of going to Med school, another to go back into missions and then another was already leaving to plant a church in San Francisco).....just a couple of weeks later we had the fire and I remember saying to the Lord, "Okay Lord, this is too much - you are going to have to have a smooth transition and bring the people to us......which He completely did!! Kevin heard about our job opening and contacted Dw. Steve saw my post on the blog about looking for some positions....and Jen was attending our church already and applied. Only God would and could make it all that easy!! And they are ALL wonderful and we have lots of fun together!!! We are abundantly blessed.
Wayne Cordeiro (a personal friend of Dw's) wrote a wonderful book called "Doing Church As a Team" (which we would highly recommend)....and the staff is currently reading it....and yes, we are Doing Church as A Team....
If you ever want to listen to any of our sermons...they are here....
Recently (11/29/09) Dw & I team taught about orphans....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Isaiah's Birthday in Pictures

Presents
Our Famous Homemade Ice Cream "Cake"

Cowboy Necessities for our Colorado Cowboy Sweet Sisters

Since it was Isaiah's Birthday and we got to eat a special dinner,
he gets to bow as we celebrate his Ch*nese heritage with Ch*nese food....
Skyping with Abigail & Ryan

Uncle Mark LOVED Skyping too....We even pinky-promise over Skype....
can't tell you what I was promising....
but my VT will be tickled....Then all of a sudden Abi realized her picture was being taken.....
and this is all she would show...LOL

Yes, indeed a good day was had by all....

And a really, extra special thank-you to all who wished our treasure Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Isaiah Turns 6 - Thankful Forever That He's Ours

For 3 years and 8 months he waited....sleeping here for the last six months of his wait......Little did he know.....that on the other side of the world, a momma was crying out to God for more kids....and little did she know that He was working (behind the scenes) on both their behalves.....
Until one day she and her husband and kids saw this picture...
Although it would be fun to say, "The rest is history"....
BUT that's not how the story goes....
because instead there was a time of great trial....
where Ch*na started by saying "yes" and then Ch*na changed their decision and said, "Absolutely NOT!"....
You can read the unbelievable story here.
But as big and powerful as Ch*na is - they still BOW to Almighty God and His authority....because after 11-1/2 weeks of intense prayer and fasting around the world - begging God to move on Ch*na's heart....they reversed their decision
and now we can say, "the rest is history".....
And on August 4th, 2008 this is the first glimpse
we had of our precious treasure....
And this mama's heart sang..... And he became another Colorado Cowboy....

And today we celebrate Isaiah Samuel turning 6 years old....


Starting with breakfast in bed.....



Ice skating this afternoon....
and Ch*nese food for dinner.....
But everyday we celebrate the Miracle-working,
Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God
who has the power to move the communist hearts of a powerful government so one little boy can have a family forever....and an eternity with Jesus Christ...and here is the day I told y'all that Isaiah did it - He asked Jesus to come into His heart....
the best day for sure!!
Wish him happy birthday with me, will ya?

I Just Love When He Does That....

Just had to mention what He did for me last night. I had a client I counseled last night. It ran late and Dw was home with the kids. I mentioned that since the cupboards were basically bare, I probably ought to just go to the grocery store. It was late. I was tired. Emmy & Graham were at youth group. Dw said, "Don't you want to wait till you have someone big to go with you?" "It's okay, the cupboards are so empty, I better just go."



So after a couple of hours of shopping and $456.00 + later I turned toward the exit. Heading toward the door precariously manuevering the two carts and having a stinkin' hot flash at the same time (extra special niiiiiice....I absolute love having hot flashes while I am pushing two loaded shopping carts bundled in winter clothes, it is my favorite!).....suddenly I remembered all that snow we had and how awful the parking lot is just to walk on, let alone try to get two carts to my car. So I prayed, "Lord, would you please bring someone along who knows me who could just help me drag these carts to the car...."



The WalMart greeter was just a young girl and she smiled and laughed as she saw me with these bulging carts. I said, "Please tell me I'm burning a bunch of calories, huh?" She laughed even harder and said I had to be. Good thing!!



I pushed my way to the door and looked at the parking lot - looking for someone I knew. The entire parking lot was empty of people. It was the barren I had seen in a long time. I prayed again, "Pleeeeeease Lord, would you send someone to help me with these carts?"



Literally, at that very second, out of NOWHERE came a young man carrying a little girl. In the darkness I peered at him and realized I didn't know him. But I am always smiling at people, so I just smiled. He said, "Hey, would you like me to help you get these to your car?" OH.MY.GRACIOUS! I said, "You are an answer to prayer. I was asking the Lord to send someone to help me and you are a wonderful answer to prayer." I asked him what his little girl's name was? "Kay".


As we got to the car I turned and saw his tee-shirt (crazy kid was only wearing a tee-shirt). I said, "Hey, what's your shirt say?" It said something like, "Because of the cross I'm forgiven." I gasped! "Oh my gracious!!! You're a Christian!" I told him that my husband pastored The River. He said he was unfamiliar with it because they were from South Fork.


I thanked him and Kay profusely and rejoiced the entire way home - Yippee Jesus!! I just love when He does that....answering our prayers on the spot!!


Of course I still wonder if I were to go hunting in South Fork, Colorado if there would really be a young man with a little girl name Kay?? My guess is he might even just have been an angel!!



PS Have a super fun post for later today.....someone special has a birthday today!! Be back soon...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sorry for the WHAT???

Remember a few days ago I told you about Dw & I heading downtown during the snowstorm to get coffee for our weekly date? We walked the streets and almost all of the stores were closed.

Being as we live about 1/2 hour from a major ski resort, it is not uncommon to hear people talk about "fresh powder"...and many people skip work, close stores, whatever to go skiing/snowboarding on fresh powder....


But imagine the giggles for all the people who passed and read this sign....


Ummmm, excuse me, you're sorry for WHAT??

Monday, January 25, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - The Stalker

As I was praying about what to do this week's Memorial Box Monday post on, the Lord brought this story to mind. I knew it was Him! See, last week I talked about the fear I struggled with for many years, actually debilitated by it. This story is about how I had the opportunity to pick up that fear (after 20 years free from it) and live entangled by its chains again.



I have gotten quite a few emails since last week's post. Many of you, also, have struggled or currently struggle with fear. I felt like the Lord wanted me to share some other things I have done to combat fear. I'll do that after telling the story.



In 2004, when we accepted the pastorate in Colorado we were so excited! We had never lived out West and we couldn't wait. This was going to be a wonderful chapter in our lives and we were all thrilled.



Our first Sunday here we had "church in the park" so we could worship and eat together - a great way to get to know the people we had come to pastor. After many of the people had left I was talking to one woman. I noticed a man under the pavilion with kind of odd behavior. He never saw me watching him, but I was keeping my eye on him. I didn't know him, had never seen him before, but he certainly was displaying unusual behavior.




After awhile I saw him get up, appearing to leave. He had had his back/side to me the entire time, so he had never seen me watching him at all. I watched him walking away and all of a sudden he turned toward me and his eyes locked with mine and he puckered his lips and smacked a kiss to me. My eyes bugged out of my head!! This man, whom I had never seen before just gestured a kiss to me! UGH! I was so grossed out!


I went to find one of the staff pastors and ask who he was. He told me the man's name (which really, even his name was really, really creepy, promise! - If I told you, you would get the shivers!) that he was a "mountain man" who lived in the mountains, off the land and would come down on occasion to attend church. About this time I learned from one of our elder's wives that this man had had a dream and in the dream he had seen his future wife, who was going to go back to the mountains with him - I looked just like her. Double creepy!


The Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Beware! Keep your eyes open! He will be back." When the Lord gives a warning - we must take it seriously!!


Just days later I was at home with the kids. I had just talked to Dw, who was out making a call on some people from our church. I told him that I felt something was going on in the supernatural and I needed him to pray with me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just knew something was wrong and I needed him to pray for our protection. In hind sight, this was not a normal thing for me to say, but within minutes I knew that indeed, there was a battle raging in the heavenlies!
After we hung up from praying together I was working in the kitchen of the parsonage where we lived. All of a sudden, Emma ran to me, grabbed my arm with all her might and jerked me around. It was so completely out of character for her, I turned wide-eyed to see her face....it was white! She whispered to me, "Mom, there is a man in our house!" I ran with her to find a man standing in our home. The same man from the picnic. The look on his face I will never forget. Our guess is that he thought he would find me home alone. We believe that he was either intent on raping me or carrying me off to live with him in the mountains. BUT I am certain that all our children present took him by surprise.



He starting mumbling some things. Now, sweet bloggy friends, the Multiple Sclerosis had not yet had a healing touch from the Lord, and under extreme stress my legs and arms would just shut down and I would fall on the floor. I needed the Lord's touch at that moment - instantly God's courage rose up within me and with strength that would only come from Him, I ordered the man to "get out of our home NOW!"



He stood looking around and mumbling things that didn't completely make sense. I told him again that he had to go. He didn't budge. He was looking around and I had the courage to stand my ground. Truly, one of the scariest times of my life!! I knew I had to protect my children and I had no clue what he was going to do. After ordering him out of our home multiple times he turned and went down the stairs to leave. Finally he stepped outside. Through the glass I was able to see that once outside he instantly turned around and reached for the door handle. But stopped. Then he stood hunched over, running both of his hands through his hair while staring at the doorknob. It looked like he was trying to decide if he should come back in.




My legs were trembling and I knew that if I tried the stairs I would fall. I waited till he had turned to go and whispered for Emma to run down and lock the door. She did it in a flash.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the next day he was back again. He was insistent that he was going to see me. Soon I was able to get a temporary protective order.

Eventually I had a court date and The Stalker stood just feet from me. I trembled from the MS anyway, but really, my entire body shook. When the judge heard our case, I had to go up with the aid of my cane to stand before him. Then the judge had The Stalker come up to present his information. The Stalker wanted to know from the judge when the Permanent protective order would end. He said he wanted to talk to me. He wanted it to end so he could talk to me. The judge told him it was permanent. The man continued to question the judge as to when it would end. He went on to explain to the judge that he had been investigating Permanent Protective Orders and had learned that ones in California (supposedly) are only good for seven years.



After the hearing, I walked out of the courtroom with my Permanent Protective Order. Friends, I had been given a new opportunity to trust Almighty God or live in fear of this man who had obviously been sent by the enemy of my soul to strike fear in me anew. What would I do?
It would have been easy to cave to fear. A stalker who has the boldness to come inside your home, is a serious threat!! BUT God!!! See, God came to set us free from fear. He came so that we could live without chains. I refuse to go back to living in chains. The enemy did not want me to have an effective ministry here in our new city. BUT Remember my verse?



"It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to this yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1


So how do we practically live free from fear? One way is to cast our cares on Him - continually. We must talk to Him about our cares. The other thing we MUST do is to fill our hearts and minds with God's promises by memorizing scripture. I posted verses all over our home. When I sat down to pee (can I say that here?), there was a verse eye level right across from me. When I turned to get toilet paper, there was a verse posted above the TP holder. When I stood and did laundry, yup, another verse. On our bathroom mirror. Above the kitchen sink. On the refridgerator. On the walls, on the doors, on the mirrors, everywhere!! It is our weapon to fight back!! God's word. His promises stand forever. God's word says, "Though the grass withers and the flowers fade, His word abides FOREVER!" I want my mind saturated by His promises.


As I reflect on what God did during that season, I am reminded of His faithful protection. How He warned me when I first saw the man. How He warned me with the urgency to pray with Dw just moments before he entered our home. How He gave me the courage to order the man out, time after time, until he left. How He protected the next day. How He allowed the judge to grant both the temporary and eventually the Permanent Protective Order. How faithful He had been each step of the way. He once again showed Himself to me as my Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God! How I praise His name!!

There is no doubt that the God of the universe has a plan for each of our lives. And there is no doubt that the enemy of our souls has a plan as well....to enslave us in fear, discontentment, anger, bitterness, resentment, etc. We have a choice. We can live in freedom or not. We can surrender to God's plan or not. It's our choice.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Would Say the Word Would Be BURIED

Last night Emma, Josh, Liberty and Isaiah played in the snow for about two hours...
One of the things they built was this chair...hard to see in the dark, but there is a ottoman and two heart shaped pillows on it....


This morning I could not resist a pic of these cherubs eating breakfast....

These two love to giggle together..... Buried in snow I thought it would be fun to make a batch of my
famous Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins......and yes,
OUR COLONS THANK US!!
Later I took Emmy, Liberty and Kirstie to the ice rink to meet some friends...
I decided to take this picture to show you what the view from our porch looks like...
I sat in a rocker and pointed it from eye level....I would say we're sorta buried, huh?Here's our little foot path out.....That same little blue farmhouse with a blue sky.....Isn't even their barn adorable??The mountains are peeking through.....The girls and a couple friends... Next to the ice rink is a little ski hill in town...hard to see a few skiiers on the hill....The ski hill is about three blocks from our church right in the heart of town....Kinda' fun to drive by and see people skiing and snowboarding.....

I wanted to show you some of my favorite houses in town...the architecture is so charming...

While I had Emmy taking the pictures of the homes....we noticed some buried cars....

This truck too....and as we passed the truck we noticed this....Little mirror sticking out....so we circled around the block and came back and took a picture of an almost completely buried car....do you see the mirror on the left of the picture?? What a hoot, huh? Probably won't see that car till Spring...
Hope they weren't hoping to head anywhere quick!!