Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meet My Friend Lisa

Meet my friend Lisa. She and her family came and had lunch with us and spent the afternoon the other day. They live about an hour away. We met in the most Crazy - totally God - way!!


A couple of years ago, Dw & I had gone to celebrate our anniversary in a town about an hour away from our home. We were seated at a sweet restaurant for our anniversary dinner and we had told them as they seated us that it was our 30th anniversary. The waitress came and took one look at us and said, "It couldn't possibly be your 30th." {Probably bucking for a bigger tip - j/k!} I said, "YUP! August 12th, 1978 in Tonawanda, NY." Her eyes grew wide as she said, "NO WAY! I grew up in Tonawanda, NY too!"

What are the odds?


Only God.



As we three talked together we mentioned the story of our kids. The waitress said, "You have got to meet my sister, Lisa, cause she's an adoptive mom and has a ministry to adoptive families." The rest is history.



Of course Lisa was raised in Tonawanda. Anyway, the reason I have to tell you about Lisa, is not just cause she is one of the sweetest, most Christ-like women in the whole world that I have ever met, BUT because of a conversation we had the other day. Lisa and I were talking about her past and how she came to know Christ as her Lord and Savior.



As her crazy story goes: Lisa was a very broken young woman. Her body was wracked with disease....not just any disease, but a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. At the age of 20, she ended up meeting a young doctor who was the admitting doctor at a Buffalo hospital. The young doc's name was Peter. Over the course of the next months Peter and Lisa's path would cross on several occasions.....and before long Peter had just accepted Christ and his wife had accepted Christ not long before he had also.

Unbeknownst to Lisa, after months of their paths crossing, Peter had gone home from their doc visit and said to his young wife, "We need to bring this young girl I met home to live with us. If we don't she will die and she needs to meet Jesus." Can you imagine? Come on, I mean, really. What doctor does that in our Western World? To the Western world in the 1980's {and today too} - that is totally illogical. Docs don't "mingle" with patients.


Okay, sweet friends....are you ready for this? Everytime this doctor would talk to Lisa he would talk about how she needed Jesus. His wife and him were praying for Lisa and before long a friend of Peter's led Lisa to Christ. But the story doesn't end there...because Peter and his wife, Debbie, knew that God had a special plan for Lisa and Lisa was very, very sick and suicidal.
So Peter and his wife knew what they needed to do...... now you have to understand...Peter's wife had a heart condition that was life threatening. They also had two little children, but going against all "protocol" and "common sense" Peter and his wife graciously opened their home and Lisa came to live with them. Which was the beginning of hope for Lisa. She saw God's love IN ACTION and before long this very broken young woman who had just asked Jesus to come into her heart started to change and grow, Lisa said, "Yeah, it was Crazy Love." {she had read the post}


Yes, Peter and his wife actions were not "normal". Infact the thought of it would make most very, very uncomfortable. It would be considered "inconveniencing" at a minimum. Downright ridiculous to your "average Joe".....but Peter and his wife demonstrated God's CRAZY LOVE.


Yes, that's what we're talking about - Crazy Love. God's love in a tangible way, revealing to others just how much He loves them....

{A few of you have mentioned a book by the same title. No, we have not read it.}



This Crazy Love thing says,

"Okay God, only you, only you and everything I can for my 'neighbor'. Whatever you ask - I'll do. Wherever you want me to go - I'll go. However you ask me to do it - I'm there. Whenever you want me - I'm available. Whatever. Wherever. However. Whenever. Ready. Willing. Watching. Waiting."

But the Crazy Love story doesn't end there. No, because Crazy Love perpetuates.....it's like a snowflake that rolls and become a snowball that rolls and becomes a giant, unshakable force.....the Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God that was working through Peter and his wife....was working on Lisa's heart and after accepting Christ she eventually went to Bible College. In the years to follow she would meet her husband Mark.

Now as a little expounding on the story....after Mark and Lisa and their kids left on Sunday my bigger kids were commenting about how they loved watching Mark care for Lisa...they were commenting on how tender-hearted he is and how "you just don't see that very often Mom." Mark is a tender, Godly example of Christ's love in action as he ministers to his precious wife.

Anyway, eventually Mark & Lisa adopted two African-American cherubs out of the system. But the Crazy Love that was demonstrated to a very broken 20 year old didn't even stop there!! Lisa {along with some friends} started a ministry to help families adopt and to help care for the orphan.

Their ministry is AWESOME, but that's not all....Lisa and Mark and their kids are preparing.....cause they're moving to Kenya to serve the orphans there. Lisa's disease has been a hindrance, but it is not an obstacle. Yes, her body is sick, but her faith is huge and her love for the orphan is contagious....and they are refusing to live their lives as comfortable.....Lisa and Mark and their kids will serve Christ inspite of any disease or any inconveniences....they are passionate to do the Crazy Love thing. Infact we have been in ministry for most of our married lives {lay & full-time} and seldom have met a couple who are so passionate about Christ and His Crazy Love....we are humbled to call Mark & Lisa friends.

But do you see the ripple effect of some Crazy Love a young doctor and his wife had? Isn't it just crazy??

I can't help but think as I type this that there are bloggy friends reading this with big, Crazy Love, God-sized ideas and dreams. This would be your encouragement today.....You can do it! It doesn't matter what the world thinks - it only matters what our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God thinks...and as far as I last checked His word for you would be:

"I love you with an everlasting love, I am totally Crazy in Love with you and I will give you the grace and strength to demonstrate my Crazy Love to others..."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dw Turns 55 Today!!

That sweet man of mine is 55 today. The Lord has done so much in his life since I met him 34 years ago. He is a tender-hearted man, defender of orphan and widow, advocate of family, challenger of men.

Most recently Dw got a letter from a former employee on our staff....they said that he was the most generous man they had ever met (yes, that would be him). He is a faithful servant of the most high God, grace-filled and kind to all. Not many men, at age 53 are finding two little ones {ages 1 and 2} in an orphanage and calling me to tell me he has already been to a lawyer to bring them home. Nor are there many men at just about 55 trying to figure out what kind of vehicle to buy and how many extra seats that would allows for future additions. Nope, not many men. Not many men at all.

I have often said, "If someone has a problem with Dw, it is definitely their problem." He just doesn't have it in him not to be grace-filled and tender. It's just not even in his DNA.

At night when Dw climbs into bed, there is no doubt that he has worked hard, selflessly, diligently and faithfully serving the Lord all day long.



I am so thankful that many, many years ago, God heard the cry of a very broken young girl and brought me a man that is not only my warrior-husband...my children's loving father....but also my soul-mate and best friend.

His buddy, Stuart, flew his plane up on Sunday and surprised him for his birthday.Would you join in wishing this sweet man of mine an extra special Happy Birthday?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memorial Box Monday




Over and over again God told the Isrealites to take stones and build a memorial to remember what He had done. They were to tell the stories to their children and their children's children. Why did He do that? Because He knew just how forgetful people are, and He wants us to remember that He is always loving, always protective, always providing, always caring, always and forever faithful.


This Memorial Box Monday goes back to the very first Memorial Box Monday post I ever wrote in October 0f 2008. The reason I am sharing this one again is that sometimes I think people think that they couldn't possibly have any big examples of what God has done....and some just can't seem to remember anything, even little. But here is a "little" story {although to me it was HUGE, because of how much I loved my sweet feathery friend}....



But seriously, look what God did - it is nothing short of a MIRACLE
{Out of the archives...October 2008}


The Ezra Story

A couple of months ago I posted about the roosters we had when we pastored in Virginia. Well we have a really cool Memorial Box story about our old family pet rooster Ezra, and I will start with the Ezra story as my first Memorial Box Monday story.


Many years ago for Christmas, our Abigail had given me two of the sweetest roosters. She totally surprised me cause she knew that I had always dreamed of having acreage and roosters and having never owned one before I was giddy with delight. She'd gotten daddy to drive her to a farm and bought them herself. She kept them hidden until Christmas morning.
Those two fellas became my joy. I named them after Old Testaments prophets because I said, "Every morning they proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." So these boys were named Ezra and Nehemiah.
Before too long, the neighbor's dog killed Nehemiah, but Ezra remained with us. Eventually my Multiple Sclerosis was so bad that we put our home up for sale. Our plan was to sell our existing home, move to a rental and then build a handicap accessible home so it would be easier for me to manuveur with my cane. Even my wheelchair, Charlie, would be able to get around with ease.


But this presented a potential concern. If we went to a rental, what in the world were we going to do with Ezra? A friend had offered his home as our rental once our home sold, yet his rental was on a super busy road and the house was right up near the road. There was no way that Ezra would survive in that rental house.




I loved little Ezra bunches! No doubt, though, Ezra was time-challenged....he would start his cock-a-doodle-doing thing about 2:30am...I used to joke that he probably had ancestors in England and he was still on their time zone.....But each night he would wake Dw and I up I would sleepily smile and say, "Isn't that the most beautiful sound?" And my loving husband would sleepily mutter between his teeth, "I hate that thing."



We had a huge wrap-around front porch and Ezra loved to come and sit on the porch with us. It was as if he was saying, "the family hangs out on the porch, I'm family, so I ought to be here too." He wasn't mean ever, just a sweet, sweet feathery guy. Yet I also reasoned that it would be traumatic to move Ezra and try to get him to understand the whole moving thing and dangerous road thing.


So I started to pray. After all, if the Lord tells us to cast every single care we have on Him....then even Ezra would fit the "every, single care" criteria. I began to regularly ask the Lord, specifically, if He would make a way for Ezra to just remain with the house. I even asked the Lord to allow whomever the people were that would come to buy our home to fall in love with our Ezra so much so that they would want him to stay.



I am aware that not everyone has such a fascination with my feathery rooster friends. BUT God does care. He loves me enough to even care about my little feathery friend, Ezra. So months passed while we waited for the house to sell and we had a kajillion showings too....BUT one day my cell phone rang while I was checking out in Wal-Mart. I will never forget where I was standing when Almighty God cared enough to show up about my Ezra. The phone call went like this:



Our realtor: Linny, this is Diana, we have an offer!!!

Me: Really? Oh Yippee Jesus!!! Is it a good offer??!


Diana: Yeah, but it's really weird, Linn. The buyer's agent said he had to ask me something before he presented the offer. That out of town buyer wants to know if you would be willing to leave the rooster. The rooster came up to them on the front porch and they just fell in love him and they don't even want to talk about the offer until they know that you are willing to leave your rooster. Linn, that is the weirdest request I have EVER had...In all my years of real estate I have never had anyone want a rooster.....

Me (through shrieks of joy): Oh YIPPEEE YIPPPEEE JESUS! Diana, God's answered my prayers - I've been asking the Lord to allow the buyer to love and want Ezra and He did it - Diana - He did it! (and then I went on to tell her the whole story since only Dw and the kids knew what my prayer had been)!


Oh yes, dear friends, there is a sweet little rooster sitting in our Memorial Box. It is a constant reminder that God even cares about the "little things" in our lives and He totally is the God of what would seem impossible (or even silly to some)!! I mean, seriously, what are the "odds" that someone would come to buy our home and want Ezra first off? Only the God of the universe could stir a couple's heart whom we had never met before to love my little Ezra from the get-go and have such a direct and special request upfront, before they even presented the offer!!!! What an amazing God we serve!


Which brings me to the question: If God cares so much about providing a home for a little feathery friend of mine - how much more does He care and provide for the super, huge, gigantic, enormous, seemingly impossible things in your life? Exactly my point!! He is the Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God!!

So what about you? Do you have a Memorial Box Monday story? Please link up and let others read about the Faithfulness of Almighty God....Please feel free to use the badge on the right sidebar {it would tickle us to pieces}...the code is below the badge on the sidebar...



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sweet Baby Boy...

Most of the pictures I take of the kids, Elijah just has a deer in the headlights kind of glaze....which is so not him....he is animated and giggles and laughs...but yesterday morning before anyone else was up this was him....thought you would enjoy our baby treasure....













Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wow!

So when I posted about Crazy Love, I really thought, "Okay, Lord, I'm going out on a limb on this...." and I kind of held my breath and waited.....doing my best to be obedient to Him. I hadn't told anyone about the idea the Lord gave me....so I was wondering what friends might think.
Within a few hours two of my very dearest bloggy friends, whom I deeply admire, gave enthusiastic encouragement in the comments they left.....Tina of One Blessed Nest said, "If you have a need, bring it on, we're waiting!" Tina girlfriend - You totally get it!! She is a treasure and if you haven't visited her blog...you really ought to....cause her sweet spirit shines through.



Before too long, Scrappy Quilter at Simple Pieces of Our Daily Lives said, "What an amazing, incredible idea. I can't wait to take part." Scrappy Quilter is one of my prayer buddies...via email....infact we don't even live in the same country! You really ought to visit her as well - you will be abundantly blessed....


How's that for Crazy Love? These two sweet ladies didn't need to think about it. They didn't just hit the little "x" in the upper right hand corner....nope(!)...they jumped right in - which to many would be totally crazy!! But it is really just love in action! And that would be called Crazy Love!! Oh Yippee Jesus!!



Now there are bunches of you joining in!! I am humbled and thrilled!! I really, really, really think we're onto something sweet friends!! And you know what else I was thinking....for you who are in a "need" place, one of these days when we do another Crazy Love party, Lord willing, you will be able to be on the "give" side.....and you will remember what it was like when a total stranger reached out and shared with you...
Oh my gracious -
I love
CRAZY LOVE!!


I would really like to post some stories of what God's done in your family, your lives and your heart as you guys give to total strangers....and then I'd like to post some stories of those who have received. So stinkin' fun.....In the days ahead, if you are "givin" or "needin" and would be okay with it, please send me an email briefly telling your story....and please put "Crazy Love" in the subject. K?



On the homefront....a bit of fun news....Elijah has not been in the time-out chair for FOUR {count them!} days. Trust me on this....there have been some days where he is in it four times in an hour. This morning he and I were up alone {Dw was already gone to church} and we were in the closet where I was dressing. Out of the blue he said, "I love Jesus." Sweet baby boy, I do believe you are getting it....and maybe one day the time-out chair will be just another piece of furniture.


If anyone has been checking my tweets, our oldest guy is safe on American soil....thank you Jesus for your protection and thank you to all of you who have prayed for him. I talked to him for just a minute and told him "When the steam clears and you come up for air, give your momma a call, okay?" {And yes, I really said that! They're newlyweds for goodness sake!} Please continue to pray for our military and their families...whether they are training or deployed - they are sacrificing daily.


Lastly, Miss Jubilee has been sick. They found strep, but it appears there are some other things going on. The doc is concerned and so are we. We are taking her to the hospital today for some tests. To me, when a doc orders tests for a Saturday...you know they are serious! Jubilee still understands very little....so it's not gonna' be fun. Also, she has not put on any weight since her first doctor visit 3 months ago, which is even more concerning. Just thought you, sweet friends, would want to know....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crazy Love Challenge

I am overjoyed at the response to yesterday's post. Look sweet friends!! As I type this, there are already 29 links of women, families - just like you and me - that have needs. Very real needs. Now what would the Lord have us to do? Pray? Absolutely. But I think He would ask us to get uncomfortable for Him.

Crazy Love then springs into action.....it says,

"Okay God, only you, only you and everything I can for my 'neighbor'. Whatever you ask - I'll do. Wherever you want me to go - I'll go. However you ask me to do it - I'm there. Whenever you want me - I'm available. Whatever. Wherever. However. Whenever. Ready. Willing. Watching. Waiting."

Lately about 2,400 friends have been stopping by A Place Called Simplicity each day. That's alot of folks!! That's alot of prayer for each of these needs - Yippee Jesus! Please pray for each!! There is such power in prayer. But twenty-four hundred people also mean that there is a strong likelihood that many, if not most, have the ability {even in a small way} to bless someone else.

Quite likely that many of you have never done anything like this before. But could you imagine if basically all took just $5.00 {or more!} and mailed it to a need posted? I have complete confidence that God would bless you, your new friend would be over-joyed and you would reap the benefits of obedience.

So the challenge is this: Get your family involved {or not}. We are going to read people's needs as a family. We are going to pray for each need. BUT then we are going to spring into action.

Here's some ideas: Could you not have a mocha this week and send a check to a friend who has a need listed on the Crazy Love post? Could you possibly have a bean dish dinner instead of a meat dinner at your home and send the money difference to someone you've never even met? Could you and/or your family be Christ's hands this week and give in a completely Crazy Love kind of way? Can your kids even draw some pictures to include with your gift? Here's another thought: If you give to help bring an orphan home, ask the person you sent money to, if you could have a picture of their precious one so you can hang it on the wall and start a "Wall of Fame".

Come on! Do it! You will never regret it - PROMISE!! Infact I'm bettin' that you will end up thinkin', "Whoooaa Nelly, that was kind of Crazy Fun!"

The MckLinky will shut off tomorrow 3/27 in the morning.....so if you are debating posting about your need, time's "a-tickin"....Get a move on!! xo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crazy Love

The Lord has been "marinating" something in my heart for quite a long time. I wrote a post a few days back called, "We Didn't Get the Memo." If you have been visiting here at A Place Called Simplicity you will understand how passionate Dw and I and our kids are about following Christ. We are passionate about making certain that our lives count. We are committed to going against the flow. We are restless to make a difference today.



Then since Dw returned from Haiti last Saturday, he and I have been talking about all this even more. He spoke a little about it Sunday morning.....and one of the things he called it was "Crazy Love". Dw and I both love the word "radical" - but it can, at times, have a negative connotation. Crazy Love seems to sum it up {for us} in a way that although one may not understand what that means exactly to Dw and I, it doesn't sound scary or intimidating. Basically, we are committed to living life for Christ with reckless abandon, and with hearts full of "Crazy Love. "



Stop for a moment and imagine what Crazy Love would look like? It's love that says, "only you God and everything I can for my 'neighbor'. Whatever you ask - I'll do. Wherever you want me to go - I'll go. However you ask me to do it - I'm there. Whenever you want me - I'm available. Whatever. Wherever. However. Whenever. Ready. Willing. Watching. Waiting."



Can you imagine?

But how can we practically make a difference today? What can we do today? So I've been thinkin'......Although there are many possibilities...how's this one?




Over the years Dw and I have given financially to many people. Many times we have given financially to people we don't even know. We are convinced that our money is the Lord's and that the amount He allows to flow through our fingertips is a direct result of our faithfulness. It is also a symptom of our heart.




I have heard people say, "When this business of ours really gets going we are going to start giving huge amounts of money away." Really? I mean, really???? God's word says this in Luke 16:10....

,

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much"




Here's what Jesus meant when He said that.....If you have a little and share with those in need, then He will make sure you get much because you've already proven yourself faithful with the little He gave you.





Hmmmm. To the world's eyes that just doesn't make sense, does it? But remember we are not on the world's economy but on God's economy! The world would say, "Hoard. Grab it. Hang on to it tight. Don't even think of your neighbor's need 'cause you might need that money someday." But in sharp contrast to that worldly line of thinking...God's word says in Luke 6:38


"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."




Whooooaaa, did you catch that?




The same standard of measure we use for others, it will be measured in return to us. So let's see....if I give to others with a "teaspoon"....I'll be getting a teaspoon back? Yup! BUT what if I use a cup to measure to others? Well then could it mean that a cup full back will come back to me? What if I use a shovel? Whooooaaa!! A shovel back? What if I use a wheelbarrel? Yiiiikes! A wheelbarrel back??! What if I use a dump truck? Oh my gracious!! A dump truck back!! Can you imagine such a thing? That my friend, would be called Crazy Love!




Now as you can guess.....the dump truck back would not be for the purposes of spending on ourselves...it would be given because we were trustworthy and God Almighty would know that we would be using it to bless others....




Now the thing about giving is that scripture is very clear....the tithe is required....it's ten percent, I mean come on guys, everything we have is only cause He gave it to us to begin with! So that means that everything that comes into our home..... we write a check and give back 10% to our local church. But giving is above our tithe.




All our married lives we have given away above our tithe. Infact I read about a man once....he lived on 10% and gave away 90%. How did he do that? Ummm, I'm just guessing here, but probably he had put alot into practice already...like I talked about in that"We Didn't Get the Memo Post".




Dw and I are not there, yet, but that is the dream....to one day live on 10% and give away 90%. Now the reality is that we cannot do that jumping from living on 90% and all of a sudden we live on 10%. So we are in the process of purposefully giving away more and more each day, each month, each year...but we had to first, many years ago start living on 89%, then a few months later we were living on 88%, then a few months later we were living on 87%....month by month...making changes...giving away....making changes...giving more away....you know, first our teaspoon, then a tablespoon, then a cup, then a shovel....you get the idea!!



So a few weeks ago I had this idea....What if I 'hosted' a Crazy Love party to help with some of the needs that you, my bloggy friends have? There are so many needs out there. So many. What if we gave to those who had need? There are blog friends whose husbands have lost their job. There are single parents who have great needs. There are blog friends whose husbands are debilitated and are unable to provide any income at this time. There are folks in the midst of an adoption. There are even folks in the midst of an adoption and the dad has lost his job! There are even some of you signed up to go on a missions trip and you are wondering where the money is going to come from? Some of you have had a medical crisis happen with no health insurance.




So what about some Crazy Love today? Let's just give it a try.




Here's the guidelines:


1. You must have a blog to participate.


2. You must be a follower of this blog to participate {feel free to join in now in order to participate}.


3. You must write a post to explain your need and link it to the MckLinky at the bottom.

4. You must have an email address in your blog post so people can contact you and ask you questions if they need to. You obviously must be willing to have people know your address to send the check to.



5. Here are some things I think must be included in your post on your blog: First! Do you and your family tithe? {Truthfully, if you aren't tithing then you aren't stewarding your resources well.} What church do you attend? Are you involved in your church at all? What exactly is your need? How would the money be used? Please keep the post as brief as possible, so when friends are hopping around looking at the needs they can easily read what the need is, if you tithe, what kind of church you attend and how they can help. Now the thing is: If you don't tithe, just be honest. If you don't attend a church, it's okay, just say so. I know there are some of you who read this blog and are just walking toward Christ...it's okay. Just say, "I'm walking toward Christ" or "I'm wondering about this whole God-thing."



Oh my gracious I am so excited!!

Now I just know that some of you are thinkin'.....Linny! You don't even know these people and I don't know these people either....... I know...but that doesn't make their need any less real. It is soooo real. And you know what? Giving to someone you don't know - I would call that CRAZY and it would also be LOVE in action...CRAZY LOVE!!! =)

Okay, so Linny, I get the Crazy Love thing...but what if they don't really need it, or don't use it like they said...or whatever???? Well that would be between God and them and they will be held accountable one day for the money they were given. God will still honor that your heart gave with Crazy Love. Promise.

I do know that this was one of the harder lessons to start to learn with our fire. We have always been "the givers." We have had to learn to receive. It is humbling, no doubt. So if you have a need, here's a God-given opportunity to see the body of Christ at work. Can you imagine the Memorial Box stories that will come out of this?

And if per chance, no one says they have a need? Well, I just really believe that this post was written for at least one of you...you are wondering if God is listening and hearing your cries...and yes, He is and He is about to show you deep love through people you don't even know...How's that for God's Crazy Love for YOU?






So that's the plan...some of you tell us of your need and those who "have" will share. Crazy?

Crazy Love!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Sweet Email

I got a sweet email from a bloggy friend. This is what she said {although I changed info so to protect her identity}.



My husband and I took a job as youth ministers right after we graduated from college in 2007. We loved our experience but felt that God was specifically calling me to apply to law school in 2008. I applied to Law School and am a little over half done with my first year. I happened to be reading your post about how God had provided for your husband's law school costs as I was sitting in Contracts class this week, and I started crying right in the middle of class! Thank you so much for the reminder that God will provide. My husband and I have committed to take out $0 in loans while I am in law school so that we can be free to move where God chooses after law school without feeling pressured to find jobs that can pay for student loan bills. I had been feeling burdened this week about whether or not my grades will be high enough to keep my scholarship next year and how we could pay for school, and your post was just what I needed to hear.




I knew when I was typing Monday's post that it would be speaking specifically to someone....little would I have guessed there was a young woman sitting in a Contracts Class in law school who would be reading it. She needed to hear our 31 year old story. And even though it a 31 years old story, God's faithfulness has not changed one speck since. He is completely trustworthy. He will provide for the needs of His people.



Sweet friends, that is exactly why Memorial Box posts are so important. They tell the story of God's faithfulness AND they encourage others right where they are at. Please begin to remember...and consider writing a post...even just every now and then....



If there was one thing I would urge you to do, it's to begin a Memorial Box....begin to remember. We are a forgetful people. We must choose to remember His faithfulness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Haiti - The Reality

Thank you so much for all the prayers for Dw and the team while they were in Haiti. Over the years, Dw has lead or been part of many missions trips around the world. He said that nothing he had ever seen prepared him for what he saw in Haiti this last week.

As Dw talks about it, he cries easily. The images of destruction and hopelessness and loss are etched in his mind. I asked him if he would like to write about Haiti, in an effort to help you, our sweet bloggy friends, better understand it all and also to help him process it. {Besides I know you guys would love to hear from him again.} In the meantime here are some pictures that he took....

Meet the associate pastor, from our denomination, who is standing with his wife where their home used to be....they lived here with their three children. When the Earth started to rumble they ran for the "kitchen" which is that metal roofed part behind them. As you can see, God spared their lives, as the rest of their home fell to the ground.


There are "tent cities" everywhere. The military that Dw spoke to {the guys who are in the same line of work as our son} said that 1,000,000 tents were handed out and that 11,000,000 meals were served.


Dw was proud to see the tents that displayed: "US Aid From the American People"


Here is another man, standing in front of where his home once stood.

If Dw understood him right, he lost his family inside the home.

Sign where life used to be.....


A shoe, a Tupperware measuring cup, once,

used by people buried in the rubble.
Dw zoomed in, so that we could see this old woman...who was slowly bending over and picking up a piece of the concrete rubble and tossing it aside....piece by piece she bent and lifted and tossed aside, obviously searching for something....maybe a body of a loved one....maybe a treasure she had once owned......Dw cries as he speaks of her.....

And one of the main questions I had....Dw, how was it that you were chosen to speak to the government officials? So as the story goes...
A man who works with the government called the pastor who Dw and the team had gone to Haiti to assist. The government man asked for someone to come to speak a devotional to the government officials. The pastor asked who he had in mind? He said, "The man who was hugging the children yesterday." {That would be my hubby!} How funny to be singled out because he was hugging the children. I know he is my husband, but I can't help but guess that they saw a glimpse of Jesus as he dove in and hugged and blessed the children. So that was how...someone who had the power to invite to speak to the government had seen. Dw had no idea.

Here he is speaking from the Word of God to the government officials, with an interpreter....And here he is doing his favorite thing....being with the orphans....
Continue to pray for the people of Haiti. One day, before long, Dw will be leading a team there....praying that out of that team, God will raise other leaders that will lead teams...the need is so great....there is more than enough work to do for the years to come as the world helps Haiti slowly rebuild....Maybe even God is calling you to be part of such a team?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - $276.00

This story has been mulling around in my heart and I really think there are a few of you who need to hear it, because it is a story of God's provision! Whether in the midst of an adoption, health issues or income loss - we need to remember that Jehovah Jirah provides. Infact Jehovah Jirah was the name the Isrealite nation gave to God when they came to know Him as their provider.....


This story takes us back to 1979. Dw and I got married in August of 1978 {I know, I know, many of you weren't even born yet!}. Dw had finished one year of law school when we got married and had two years to go. We were living in Buffalo, NY and I was working as an Administrative Assistant. I made $150.00 a week. We tithed since day one of our marriage. We have heard people say, "We would like to tithe, but we can't afford to." To which I reply, "Friend you can't afford NOT to tithe." No matter what bills you have, no matter how little your income is, you must tithe. We have seen, over the years God meet every single need we have had, even when we have had little or no income - He does that because He is a faithful God and He will always generously bless our obedience. Always. Infact I am confident that this story would have not taken place if we had not been tithing....



When Dw was in law school we told the Lord that we did not want to take any student loans either - we wanted Him to provide for every need and then He would get the glory big time! Yup, a whopping $150.00/week and no student loans. {Dw had taken student loans before we were married.} We would be on an adventure and watch Him, and only Him, provide.


Dw was attending the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and each semester we had managed, miraculously, to pay his tuition. But now we came to a time where we just didn't have the money. We had $276.00 left to pay. We were bound and determined that God was going to provide.....we had no clue how and we didn't "advertise" that we had this need. We prayed. We prayed alot. We needed the money by a certain date. We told the Lord that the deadline was approaching, infact the deadline for the tuition money was Monday. There weren't any surprise checks that came in the mail on Saturday.


Whooooaa. It was getting close. We were beginning to wonder what we were going to do. And then we went to church on Sunday morning. =) Out of the blue, our pastor walked up to us and said, "Someone asked me to give this to you folks." He handed us an envelope. I am sure our eyes popped out of our head. We had never had anyone anonymously give us an envelope. We tucked it away and waited till we were home to open it.



I will never forget sitting in our little apartment as we opened that envelope and reached inside to a little pile of cash. As we counted out the bills we started to giggle and gasp. Two hundred, two hundred twenty, two hundred forty, two hundred sixty, two hundred seventy, two hundred seventy five and one single dollar bill more. Exactly on the dot of what we needed. No note inside. No clues. We have no idea, 31 years later who gave us that. Our pastor didn't know of our need. God had met it through someone who had been very generous - no doubt!


And that is precisely why we call Him our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God. He provides even at the last possible day and eventually we started calling Him "Jehovah of the Last Second"....


So what about you sweet bloggy friends? Are there needs that you have and wondering how exactly He is going to provide? OR is there someone around you that has a need? Could you be the person who fills the envelope and gives it to them? Perhaps even anonymously? Too fun!!



Please share your own Memorial Box Monday post. Please feel free to copy the Memorial Box badge off the right sidebar. And please link up below. People are loving reading your Memorial Box Monday stories posted and often they find encouragement for their situation....because He is always a Faithful God and He will meet whatever need you may have...




Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Peek into My Big Kids World

The big kids don't get much "air" time, so I thought I would give a peek into their world. Graham and Emma hang together most of the time, and have all mutual friends. One of their favorite things to do is to have a bunch of friends over to play some games and eat {and eat and eat. Did I mention they eat? Lots.} Sometimes they head outside to build a bonfire and sit around for hours laughing and talking.
This is Spencer....and he is Graham's bud....we have threatened to declare him on our income tax each year....sweet kid....and always so sweet to our little ones....
Vanessa is heading to Africa with them this trip....
Ben went last year with the team to Africa.....Kirstie
Playing Catch Phrase...Dw & I laugh and laugh listening to them scream and laugh...This particular night they decided to make cutting Tim's hair a group effort....
and Rebekah started off.... And different kids took a "whack" at it....And in the end....Tim was happy, and that's all that mattered...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Surprise From Haiti & That ONE comment of Yours

What a delightful surprise from the Lord.....this AM I found in my inbox a letter from a blog lurker {Sara} who came out of the shadows to tell me....


She had been on Facebook and was looking at a video a friend {who is in Haiti right now} had posted....and who should the entire video be of? Yup! That precious best friend of mine!! I was so excited, I could hardly stand it!! Who'd have "thunked" that someone lurking in blogland would know someone on the trip with Dw and find a video to share with me? TOO FUN!!!


I have no idea how to post it, but I can post the link....so if you have a Facebook account, you can view. It is a public video on FB, so you don't have to be friends with the gentlemen who posted it to view it. How fun is that?? Click here...


No doubt, you will see the tenderness and love that sweet hubby of mine has for the orphan....gracious I love that guy!! And all those kids surrounding him? Oh I can't wait to go back with him!!










And lastly, it has been really fun reading all your comments about yesterday's post. So just to add a bit of suspense to the mix.....







More kids for us is a given. What "the Haitian Gladys Aylward" asked though was not what any of us would have imagined. Only one of you {in your comments} were onto it.....





Which one?



















Awwwww, come on guys, you know I can't tell you that....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FINALLY!!


Finally! Finally! Finally!!



I had thought it would be too late for Dw to call, due to the time zone, etc., but sure enough my cell FINALLY rang just few minutes go.....We made several attempts to talk and each time I could not hear him. I was just happy to know that he was safe!!




Eventually after many efforts we were able to talk for a few minutes. It turns out that the Minister of the Police never showed up. INSTEAD all of the judges in training and the Head Judge {we're talkin' the very top, top, top guy!} in Haiti came in. It was even better according to Dw!!! He told them that he had been an attorney for 11 years and they loved him!! If I understood Dw right, these judges-in-training are just about to begin being the judges in Haiti....so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. It was wonderful!!



Later, he ran into a group of young men who are in the same 'field' as our Ty. Dw could tell by their tab on their sleeve. Dw was thrilled beyond words. He talked to them for a long while and eventually told them what exactly Ty does in his 'field.' They were like, "WHOOOAAA - NO WAY!! He's one of 'those'?" Sad I have to be so non-descript, but this is a public blog...suffice it to say, Daddy loved hearing these guys reaction to Ty's "job".

Then, saving the best for last......He was so charged as he told me - he said that he met "the Gladys Aylward" of Haiti. He said she was unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. She loves Jesus with all her heart, has two orphanages she runs. She provides for babies through adulthood, eventually getting them to the university!! Dw spent alot of time with her.
No doubt, Dw deeply admired her. He told me the favor she has with the government and how she has the officials ears.....she can go anywhere in the government without obstacle!! {If you have not read the YWAM autobiography of Gladys Aylward -and George Muller too - it's time to order it from YWAM!! They will change your life forever and you must read them aloud to your kids - their lives with also be changed - promise!!}





Anyway, during the time Dw spent with this "Haitian Gladys Aylward" he was asking her all kinds of questions. Then she asked him a question. He about fell over! He said his wife {that would be me!!} is going to be giddy when she finds out.... So what did she ask him?














**Sorry....can't tell you yet.**


I know, I know, I'm so stinkin' mean. Hey, look at it this way...... I had to wait almost 30 hours for a phone call...and you're just gonna' have to wait too. =)



In the meantime, order the books and get reading....



Life is short - God's got a BIG plan and we got work to do!!



Let's go!!

UGH

Special thanks to all who have been praying for Dw and all those ministering in Haiti. I am getting stinkin' impatient still waiting to hear from him about what happened this morning. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.


I promise to do a post as soon as I hear. For the record, we are the couple who during a normal day talk about every couple hours. Always have. So this 24 hour thing {at least} separated by a few thousand miles is not on my list of "fun things".


Since it's Thursday, while we wait, let's think of some Thankful Thursday things that I have to be thankful for: Chocolate. Chocolate with almonds. Chocolate ice cream. Chocolate syrup. Chocolate milk. Cell phones that had better will be ringing soon so this waiting wife can find out exactly what happened this morning.


By the way....I was thinkin'.....if he doesn't call today, you can be sure that our home will be the cleanest it's been ever cause I'll be staying up all night waiting. Which might not be a bad thing.


Which reminds me....I think the Lord gave me a fun bloggy idea so I'll try to write about it tonight.....and see what y'all think...xo

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dw Emailed Me.. would you please pray?

Dw sent me a brief email which basically said:
"Please pray....I have been asked to do a devotional for the Minister of Police in Haiti tomorrow {Thursday 3/18} morning at 8 AM {Mountain Standard Time}. There is no Army in Haiti - so this man is the Top Dog. There will be other top government officials present."


I have no idea how this came about, but it is obviously God's favor. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, boldness, courage and protection as he speaks. Truly, I am dumbfounded. Dw went to orphanages today....he has not been hanging out near the government offices.

Please pray with us that God's spirit will move and
some will enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

First real Update From Haiti

"Once our eyes are opened
we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls,
knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12
All day long we were carrying my cell phone, praying that Dw would be able to make contact with us. Right about 5 pm he called!! Yippee Jesus!! We talked for 13 minutes and it was soooo good to hear his voice and hear a speck of what was happening.


First off, Dw went as part of a leadership team from our denomination to assess how exactly to plant an orphanage(s). He was told before he left, that they knew that Dw's appointment was a divine assignment because of all the orphanages he has been part of, volunteered at, and supported. They also loved that we have adopted 7 kids ourselves. {I love that part too!}


Anyway, on the flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Haiti Dw was bumped by the airlines to First Class and who should be sitting across the aisle from him? {Only a God-thing since Dw's legs are so long and get so uncomfortable in the regular class.} The man is on a staff at a HUGE church in America and was formerly the Assistant Director of Feed the Hungry. Sounds like another divine assignment to me!! The man and Dw hit it off and talked the entire trip. By the end of the trip this gentleman turned to Dw and said, "Maybe Dw, you should partner with us." Hmmmm. Now we're talkin'.

I guess yesterday Dw "ran" into the gentleman again. =) Anyway, who knows how God will use that meeting, but I am tickled and am confident that it was not an accident or coincidence. We firmly believe that every single thing that happens in life is going to be used by Almighty God somehow, either now or in the future.

Today as Dw and I were on the phone Dw was barely able to talk....he kept crying and crying. He said through tears, "You know the orphanage Elijah and Elizabeth were at Linny? Well the different orphanages I was at today make the one in Uganda look like a palace." He said that he found an orphanage run by a little old lady....and he had opportunity to talk to her for a long time {he also fell in love with some kids - I know, I know, shocker, right?}. He met several sibling groups whose parents had been killed in the earthquake.
Dw asked this elderly orphanage director if she has much help come by way of missions trips, etc? She said no, but she prays all the time that God will send people to help. How horrific that she has been praying for years for help and seen basically none at all. No doubt, this will be a place for future mission trips we will be leading.

Dw said that the devastation is even hard to verbalize.....and that he needs to come home to just process it and talk about it with me. He could not stop crying. He said that he could see shoes, diaper wipes, clothes....all sticking out from under buildings where bodies have been crushed. He said nothing in life has prepared him for what he has seen. He also said that the devastation is beyond words. He said the people are without hope. His heart is completely broken for the Haitian people.


Please pray for all those who have gone to Haiti to work and help. Pray for God's grace and peace to penetrate their hearts and minds and that God would use their presence to minister to the Haitian people. And NOW is the time for the body of Christ to mobilize and be His hands and feet. We cannot turn our backs.
"Once our eyes are opened
we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts
and keeps our souls,
knows that we know and
holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12

Well That Was a Weird Day

Yesterday was an interesting day....all.day.long. It started with the privilege of being part of a panel on Parenting Tips at a local MOPS group.
The kids and I had it all planned. After the MOPS meeting I was going to come pick them up and we would go to the local Rec Center. We have not been there in probably 2 years. It is kind of pricey per person {when you have lots of kids} but with daddy gone, we would splurge and spend the entire afternoon swimming....and getting some exercise of the funnest kind.....Course the little ones could not even envision just how fun it all would be....

So I tried to capture a bit of the look on their faces when they saw the pool area......

I mean - Look at It!! Who wouldn't be excited for all this fun??


And the very next second after snapping that picture the nice guard came to us and said, "Ummmm, sorry, but we're just about to blow the whistle. We are closing the pool. Some kid pooped in it." All I could think was....thank you Lord it wasn't one of MY kids.
About one minute after the guard told us that, my cell battery died. Niiiice. I had been waiting to hear from Dw, as it had been well over 24 hours. Oh well. Get the kids changed and get out to the car and get that cell phone plugged into the car charger.

Check out Isaiah's face after hearing the news.....Jubilee had no clue what was up....and it appears Elizabeth was just up for a swimsuit photo shoot in her glamorous new suit.
None of the kids cried when the guard told us that, we all were like, "Ooookay, now what?" Since we were attempting to do something out of the ordinary I said, "Okay, new rule in our Home.....ANYTIME we come to the Rec Center and get kicked out of the pool cause some kid pooped in it, we get to go to Dairy Queen for Ice Cream." WoooHooo!! I'm wondering if that famous phrase really should go like this.........."When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon-Aid....and when life gives you poop, eat ice cream." In that case, Poop away kid, poop away. Woooo Hooooo!!!!

As we pulled out of the Rec Center parking lot I plugged my phone in. Weird that in that half hour it took to change, I had had two phone calls. I listened to voice mail and both were calls from Dw. He said he was good. He was safe. Things were going well. He missed us and loved us. He did not know when he would be able to call again. ugh

I decided we would take a little scenic drive as they ate their ice cream cones....and went over to this spot of land that I, personally, think is one of the prettiest views of the Rockies around....total eye candy.....and as you can tell we still have LOTS of snow on the ground here...


While driving down the road, Elizabeth said, "Hey let's play the thankful game." We played several rounds.
Eventually I ended up with the four youngest at home. I went to check my email and write a blog post. The internet was not working. I called the internet number, they were closed for the day. Niiiiiice. So I debated should I drive the kids back to my office with my laptop or should I just get them dinner and call it a day?
A couple of hours later the internet company called. And later last night they were able to fix the problem. BUT as I made the kids dinner I went to use the garbage disposal. It crunched as I turned it on. I shut it off as fast as I could and decided to dig around....and here's what I found....

That would be:

34 small pieces of glass!

A partially ground toothpick

Tin foil

Popcorn kernels

Plastic thing to hold tags on clothes

piece of a wrapper

And amazingly I did not even get a teeny cut as I dug around and pulled all that glass out!!

And by the way....Would someone out there please tell my kids that "Garbage Disposal" does not literally mean "garbage"...but food particles that we let rinse off plates, ya' know?

And finally, as I was tucking the little ones in one of my dearest friends called who lives around the corner {who probably would prefer to remain anonymous}. We were having a great time chatting and all of a sudden she said, "Uh-oh, I better hang up, I'm getting pulled over."

Niiiiiice...

And I would say that was a banner day for stuff. Nothing tragic or earth shattering...just a weird day all the way around....

But I'm anticipating today is going to be more normal today....

and so far it has been...

Both Elijah and Elizabeth have already been in the time-out chair....and it's not even 8:00am

Yup, just another normal day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - Not One, BUT Two Sweet Surprises



It's Memorial Box Monday and this story is hot off the press! As most of you know, last week we took Jubilee to Children's Hospital in Denver and Isaiah to Greeley to see his doctor. We had some very surprising revelations about our sweet Jubilee: like that she has moderate to severe hearing loss in one ear and moderate loss in the other. They say that hindsight is always 20/20 and in this situation it couldn't be truer. We just hadn't put it all together, but once we knew that - WOW! Life made sense.



We also learned that hearing aids are $1800.00 each and often insurance doesn't cover. Add to that new information that we are definitely in need of a larger vehicle since 10 of us is hard to squeeze in an 8 passenger - with 4 in car seats. The trips to Children's are overnights since we live 8 hours away.


Now please don't misunderstand me.....we weren't sitting around worrying about it. We were just making some financial observations....."Yup, God this is gonna' be fun to watch you provide. We have seen You supply for every, single need we have ever had. You have never let us down. Not ever. Your timing might not be quite as quick as our impatient little lives would like it, but that's because You seem to move according to 'God-time zone' and not necessarily according to our 'Mountain-time zone'!"



So the next morning after packing up the two hotel rooms and heading toward Greeley we stopped at Chick-Fil-A to eat. We love, love, love that place and it is definitely a highlight stop anytime we are in the Denver area. We all climbed out and went in to order. Three salads. Three large chicken nugget orders. Two large fries. Extra BBQ sauce. Extra ketsup. 9 waters. A bazillion napkins.

$35.+ total.



While Dw and Graham were getting all the food, I was taking, with the help of Emma and Liberty, all the little ones to the potty and to wash hands. We found a booth, over near the bathrooms, kind of out of the way, pushed a small table over to the booth and grabbed a couple extra chairs to make for a total of 8 places to sit with Elijah on my lap.


The Chick-Fil-A wasn't crowded. Infact I was surprised at how few people there were in it. Anyway, Dw and Graham brought the food and we thanked the Lord for it and soon started eating. We were laughing and talking and enjoying each other's company. We even played a round of the thankful game, just for fun! There were a few patrons around us, but none that stood out and certainly no one who seemed to pay any attention to us.

All of a sudden one of the server/clerk persons came over to our table. I'm sure we looked kind of surprised, cause we were. We couldn't imagine what she wanted. She was probably in her sixties. She said, "One of our customers wanted you to have this. They saw your family and thought you could use it." She then handed us a gift card to Chick-Fil-A. We laughed in disbelief! Nu-uh! It turned out that it was for $35.00....almost exactly to the penny of what we had spent for lunch.



Both Dw & I were humbled and the kids and us started to kind of laugh and shake our heads all the while thanking her profusely and asking her to thank that most kind and generous person. We looked around. There was no one watching. Crazy. She walked away and we were telling the kids how that was so like the Lord to pay for our meal, reassuring us that our needs will be met. Our kids were soooo tickled with us. What an unbelievable blessing!!


We eventually went back to eating and talking and laughing. About 15 minutes passed. All of a sudden the same woman came to our table again. She said, "Ummm, this is from another customer. They want you to have it. They thought your family looked really special." I started laughing and said, "You're joking!!" She shook her head and said, "Now do I look like someone who would joke?" Dw and I started to laugh in shock and amazement. What in the world? Sure enough - there was another gift card to Chick-Fil-A ....this time for $50.00!!



After handing us the gift card, the clerk lingered longer and so we told her the story of our family and how God's heart is for the orphan and how we like to think that our family looks like God's heart - cause our Almighty God is color-blind!!



We told her about Dw leaving for Haiti soon and that we love having a big family and how blessed we are to be older parents with a boatload of kids. We thanked her again and asked her to please thank this second really generous person for us. We looked around and really, there was no one to even suspect.


As she was walking away she told us how much of a pleasure it had been for her to meet us and we were left dumbfounded at the generousity of total strangers.


Graham thought that we should go eat at Chick-Fil-A every day!! It could provide a substantial living - haha.



Anyway, in the midst of that generous double blessing {even within minutes of each other!!} we felt that the Lord was reminding us that He will be providing for every one of our needs. He's known about the financial/medical needs from before the beginning of time. He has known about the bus/van need from before the beginning of time. He has known about every need of yours, too, sweet bloggy friends - from the beginning of time. He is faithful. He will supply all of our needs. He will sometimes use "ordinary" ways to meet our needs. Sometimes he uses "extraordinary" ways to meet ours needs. But no matter what, it is HIM meeting those needs. He will sometimes even send total and complete anonymous strangers to meet our needs.


And one day, we will have two empty gift cards from Chick-Fil-A to put in our Memorial Box. If you have no clue what a Memorial Box, it is fully explained here. Basically, it is a box {or shelf} where we put little symbols of the stories in our lives that remind us of our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God. The times in our lives we have seen Him work: healing, providing, protecting, and even surprises! Frankly, we are a very forgetful people and God told the Isrealites to
If you are in need of encouragement, please click on the links below to see what Almighty God has done for others. Most likely you will be reminded of times that you have seen Him at work in your life as well.



And lastly, is there a story of a time where God surprised you and met a need when you least expected it? Please share your story with us!






If you are linking up, please feel free to use the Memorial Box badge on the right side bar. It's a picture of our sweet log home and is one of the ultimate Memorial Box stories in our box - serving as a constant reminder of how God spared our lives that day.