Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
One princess and the prince....
Friday, February 26, 2010
When I came in the door Mark immediately told me, "Steve mean to me tonight. He givin' me a hard time. Boy, I bawlin'. He mean." I asked him what he said and he told me. I said, "Mark we love you and want you here. I'm sorry you can't go home, but we are your family and we will take good care of you." Today has been a better day, but he has mentioned that mean ol' Steve a few times.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
We knew when we we first started pursuing her that she had many special needs. Obviously, we weren't sure what that would look like, but we knew that God was in it and so we forged ahead. We also knew that one day Uncle Mark would most likely be with us and since he's a "lifer" (meaning he'll be with us for the rest of his life although today he keeps muttering under his breath that "i goin' home and i gonna' stay there" - not sure why he's so unhappy. ugh) we were really comfortable with the possibility that Jubilee also might be a "lifer".
Many people bringing home kids use "sign language" (more like charades) to help them communicate between each other till the kids become so emersed in the language. We have been doing that on our end. But from the get-go, it was obvious that Jubilee didn't have a clue how to "show" us what she wanted or needed. I would try to make her understand that using charades would help me to understand her - but was always met with a blank stare. Time after time I tried to get her to "show" me and time after time she would just look at me in bewilderment.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Always very exciting to me that the King of the Universe wakes me to hang out with him. And yes, He wants to do the same with you. If you’ve never asked Him to wake you up to hang out with Him, just do it! After spending time with Him, I am even more convinced that He wants me to share my heart. So here goes…
Being an adoptive mom I have often heard (what seems like a zillion times), “ I would adopt, but we just don’t have that kind of money.” Let me be real honest here. Those words actually kind of tick me off. What is it that the general population has the notion that everyone who has adopted won the lottery or inherited a boatload of money or their income generates enormous amounts of money? Seriously?
This is what I want to say to each of those who have said that to me:
God’s heart is for the orphan. He longs for every single one of the orphans to be in a family. When a family purposes in their heart to bring one (or a dozen) home God will move every single mountain, hill, bump, embankment and obstacle (financial, immigration, job situations, health issues, etc.) to bring them home. Bar none. There is not one thing that He cannot and will not do or move to bring home an orphan to a family (or single mom) whose heart is willing.
That being said, I am convinced that Almighty God is looking to see how serious we are.
In fact let me go out on a limb here……I am equally convinced that HE will bless each one’s home immensely when they choose to bring a little one home. He will bless beyond measure, beyond what anyone could have dreamed or hoped. The blessings won’t necessarily come in ways that were expected, but they will come ~ and hearts and homes will overflow in abundance.
Over the years I have run into many nice and often well-intentioned people who are “pursuing the American dream”. They have duped themselves into thinking that this is where happiness and joy come from, that this is their “right”. They’ve gone to school for “it”, they’ve then worked for it, thus they’ve earned it and so they most definitely deserve it. Really?
Friends, God did not put us on this earth to indulge ourselves. He put us here for one purpose and one purpose alone. And that purpose would not be to die with the most toys. In fact if a person is someone who easily generates money, it is a gifting from God and it is only for the purpose of giving away. It is not to hoard or spend frivilously. It is to give to those in need.
He put us here to love Him first and serve others. Period. To care for the orphan and widow. To minister to the poor. To live selflessly. In fact “selflessly” is defined this way:
But serving others boils down to a few basic things…..like giving up our selfishness and our stuff. Giving up the pleasures as we know them. Giving up our time (ouch! That’s a big one, probably equal to the “money thing”). Giving up our freedoms. Giving up the things that tie us down, both financially and materialistically.
And frankly speaking, if you don’t want to give anything up, then you’re right – you can’t adopt. It takes an intentional act of our will to live selflessly - to be able to “afford” to adopt.
We could have hid behind the “we can’t afford it” and rightfully so. Dw's a pastor. We have had many, many medical bills and expenses (wheelchairs, canes, handicap accessible ‘stuff’) over the years dealing with the Multiple Sclerosis, etc.
But here’s the bare-naked truth. We decided to go against the flow (just like many of you did!). We decided to “throw caution to the wind”. We opted to cause all our peers to shake their heads. We voted for sleepless nights (at our age!) - waking up to put little ones who’ve fallen out of bed back in, or snuggling with a little one who’s throwing up or coughing or having a bad dream. We chose more kids knowing that we would be denying ourselves more “stuff”, fewer invites out, more clutter, endless bickering to break up, more medical bills, more teen years to maneuver through and more weddings to pay for. We knew what we were getting into and ran for it anyway!
So how exactly did we pay for each of the four adoptions we’ve done in the last just over 2 years?
Well! We opted to sell our big home and get out of mortgage debt. We had lived mortgage free for many years, until we moved to this expensive town. So we took our equity, built a sweet home and then turned around and sold it, so we could, once again, be mortgage free.
And since many are visual learners and can picture it better…..let me put it this way....
To trade "up" and have no more mortgage at this little log home:
That meant trading this kitchen that held some really fun memories.....
And the beautiful Colorado great room with a huge loft.....
For this log home with this view from it's loft:
We chose to SIMPLIFY our lives....
and that became our "theme song"...
Ya' know? A Place Called Simplicity
So that we could snuggle with this treasure from China.....
And this treasure from Africa......
And this Princess from Africa.....
And this Princess From China.....
Knowing that our view would no longer be this from that home....
And our family picture would no longer look like this.....
But instead we would have our arms full and our hearts overflowing.....
And, no, we wouldn't trade the journey nor do we wish for our old lives back....
We are so grateful for the simpler life (even with all the pain we have walked this past year)....our hearts are thankful that we've heard the cry of the orphan and we were obedient to God's plea...cause serving Christ and serving others is the only way to true happiness.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
New names & blogs added!!
Yippee Jesus! These ladies have joined the
Memorial Box Monday group!!
Check out their stories.....cause they are sure to build your faith!!
Shannon @ Throwing Our Arms Open Wide
Stephanie @ Prose from Printy
Karen @ Karen Dawkins
Kathie @ Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow
Leigha @ My Snuggle Saurus
Marci @ She Can Laugh
Tina @ One Blessed Nest
Anyway, Memorial Box Monday is a time of remembering all the things God has done. Huge, gigantic things as well as things that might seem insignificant to most. God's word is clear: We are to cast every care upon Him, because He cares for us. (I Peter 5:7). "Every care" means just that - every care!
Many years ago we were pastoring outside the Richmond, Virginia area where we had planted a church. We had a home on 15 acres and really wanted a swimming pool as we had six or seven kids at home at the time. Not a fancy pool, just a pool to splash around and cool off in. 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 right was right 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 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. =( We left on 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. It 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 and in the time it took for me to tell Dw and have Dw call him right back he had dropped it 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. 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.?" LOL So for $200 we drove away with an almost brand spanking new pool which we didn't even have to negotiate for - it brought us boatloads of fun for the years we pastored
And so in our Memorial Box there was a little rubber ducky representing the swimming fun of a pool (picture taken prior to fire)....A Memorial Box is explained in detail right here.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I am placing my order....it will be an act of faith though....cause with all the snow we keep getting, it's not lookin' like Spring is comin' anytime soon. ugh.
PS And for those who have written and asked about the missions trip to Africa - WOW - We are soooo excited!! We know that God has a specific team planned and are so stoked that there will be some bloggy friends joining in. We will be sending out the applications tomorrow. So keep your eyes peeled!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
And on that note, I just never, ever want this to come across as complaining. I love having Mark here. If he were to have gone to live somewhere else, I would have felt ripped off. He is a treasure. Period. No matter what though, whenever someone comes to live in a home, from newborn to a 70 year old mentally handicapped man, there's gonna' be adjustments. Hear my heart......
From the time Dw and I were first married 31+ years ago, we just kind of planned that one day Mark would come live with us. We have expected it, talked about it and yes, we've wanted it. We are family.
Infact we built this house with five bedrooms. Of course, we have seven kids at home, so there would be an extra guest room knowing that one day Mark would be in it. Surprise! It was only empty three weeks, how crazy is that??
Mark's handicap has him somewhere around a 5 year old. Think about most five year olds you know.....He loves attention, even craves it. He loves to talk!! He has never met a stranger. He loves to hear what people say about him. He loves to hear that over and over! (and over!). So if we go somewhere without him, he always wants to know if someone asked about him. I try to remember to mention this to friends, so they can indeed ask about him and then I can tell him that they asked about him.
He was never really required to do many chores around his home, and so he is learning to do little things around the house, like put dishes away. I have had to explain to him that we are a big family and a team and everyone on the team has to pitch in.
He never even got his own drink of water at home so he has had many adjustments. =) On a funny note.....He has had a habit of burping without saying "excuse me"....which just for the record, I cannot stand burping. It just grosses me out. Forgive me bloggy friends, if you can burp with the best of them....it just is something that I have never been into. So I have had to ask him to learn to say "excuse me" when he belches. I told him that he has to be an example to the kids. This has been a repeated learning curve and so recently I said, "Gracious Mark! You burp all the time and how is it that you never learned to say 'excuse me'??!" He said, "You should hear Mom!" Oh my! My mother-in-law would just croak if she had heard him "tell all". But yes, I know from first hand experience that he is not kidding. Too funny.
Mark has been lonely for his mom. He cannot talk about her without crying. It makes us cry too. No wonder - he lived with her for 70 years!! He calls her and talks to her and in a couple of months he will be able to go visit her, Lord willing.
He misses his friends in his hometown: Perry, New York. His days would consist of walking downtown and making the rounds of the stores and shops. At most stores he would get a Pepsi and often a candy bar. He had put on alot of weight. That's not good for him. So when he came I said, "Mark I want you to live to be 100....but you cannot keep eating the candy bars and drinking the sodas to do that." Each night my mother-in-law would give him a big dessert in the evening too.
Since coming home to our house, he usually eats a tangerine before bed and only drinks Pepsi on Fridays. He hasn't balked about it, and no doubt he has lost weight!! It is so much healthier for him.
I found a Special Olympics 'club' for him and he now goes two evenings a week to play basketball. He has been over-the-moon happy about that. Jerry, Dw's bud, set him up with some sneakers and sweat pants (I took the pics of him so you could see....he said, "you going to put it on feemale Linn?" ("Female" is how he says "email".) He also has a new bag another friend of ours gave him to carry his sneakers in and he is soooo proud of it! (Thanks Ben!)
We can tell that he is so thrilled that after all the years of watching Dw play basketball in high school, it is finally his turn!! Sad he had to wait 70 years, huh? To our knowledge he has never had a 'uniform' nor has he ever played anything!! We are tickled for him. There is a chance that he can play on the official Special Olympics team from our town.......we'll see. For now, he practices with them.
We want Mark to know how welcome he is and that he is one of ours. Last night the kids came home from Youth group and Emma, Graham and Josh were sitting in our bedroom laughing and telling us of some of the stuff that happened (which is another post for another time - hilarious!) so we called Mark to come sit in the bedroom with us all laughing and talking.
So for now, we are settling into a new normal. We are looking for a big van or bus (you think I'm kidding?) for all of us to ride in. We are running Mark here and there along with the rest of the kids. (My mom has helped with some running too! - Thank you Mom! We love you!! xo)
I cannot help but know that our kids will be blessed for having Uncle Mark live with us as they are growing up. So many people are so stinkin' selfish in life. We pray that this breeds "others focused" instead of "navel gazing". We pray that they always love those around them who have special needs. That they understand that Uncle Mark could be any one of us. He is a treasure and made in the image of Almighty God and we are grateful that we have the privilege of having him live with us.....long, loud burps and all.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Drum roll please.....here it is.....The one I'm giving Away....
it's kind of a smaller version of
our family's new one.....sweet, huh?
And as always, we would sure love you to join in a Memorial Box Monday posts of your own.
Please feel free to grab this button....from the right sidebar.
The winner of this Memorial Box Giveaway is.......
Interestingly enough, I titled a blogpost the other day "Okay, Carla Here Ya Go"....just for the record, they are two very different Carla's. =) Just in case you wondered if it was all rigged. Liberty did the drawing for the contest.
And tomorrow we are giving away something else...but what could it be?
Wait till you find out.