Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Box Monday on Memorial Day!

Last week I explained, again, exactly what a Memorial Box is. For our family, it is one of our most treasured possessions. It hangs in a prominent spot in our home, where we are continually reminded of God's faithfulness in our lives.


This week I am going to tell a very, very simple story. It happened here at home while Dw was in Africa a little over a week ago, so it is fresh off the press! I need to tell this story today, because I need to be reminded that God cares about the teeniest, tiniest details. He cares about every single thing you or I care about......infact I Peter 5:7 says:


"....casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

"All" means "all". Fascinating and absolutely amazing that the God of the universe cares about all the little details...Every.Single.One. Seriously?!



While Dw was in Africa I took the five youngest kids with me to go downtown. Just as I pulled into my parking spot and turned off the car I looked around at the kids. Oh great! I had completely forgotten to do Jubilee's hair before leaving the house. I had washed it the night before and let me assure you, it needed something done. With her hair down, after sleeping on it, yeah, almost scary.



I rummaged frantically through my purse looking for a elastic hair rubber band. Nothing. I scrambled through the console section between the front seats. Nothing. I was praying as I looked. "Please Lord, would you provide a hair band for her hair?" Pleeeeease??

Ugh. There was none in the van. Nowhere. I looked at all the kids wondering if maybe Liberty had two hairbands in so I could 'borrow' one? Nope.



I am not a fanatic about how the kids look, but somehow with special needs and a boatload of kids in our community that seems to have more dogs then kids...you know what I mean??



I desperately long for people to see how beautiful my kids are....but some can't see past anything....and I know that the way her crazy hair was....ugh....



I climbed out of the car and got everyone unbuckled and out of their carseats and went to take hands so we could hold hands walking across Main Street and as I looked to take one of the little ones hands....what was lying on the street right at our feet? A perfectly clean brand new looking hair rubber band!! I gasped!!



I am actually giggling as I type this. For real. I'm sure my eyes were wide. I looked at Liberty as I scooped to pick it up and said, "Did you drop this?" She looked bewildered. "No".



I can't say that I have ever picked up a hair anything off the ground, but let me assure you...I knew this one was from the Lord!! I quickly twisted her long flyaway hair into a little knot and off we went. I rejoiced the entire time....God cared about one little teeny, tiny hair rubber band. How much more does He care about my current need?

How much more does He care about the tiny detail you need answered?? He is so faithful!!



Please, please, please share your stories by linking below:



How do I enter a link to Memorial Box Monday?


Post the permalink from your blog below. A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post. In other words, each blog post has an address and the permalink is the street number and the avenue. For example, my blog address is http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/

But the permalink to this post is:

http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2010/05/memorial-box-monday-on-memorial-day.html


To get the permalink, I simply clicked on the post title and it popped up as a separate page. What popped in the address bar is the permalink. On your blog you must link back here to this blog and that your post is part of Memorial Box Monday at A Place Called Simplicity.......{If you do not use a permalink, then I will be forced to delete your link. Often people read this post days and weeks after the fact, if they want to read your link and you have merely linked to your blog, then they have no clue where your Memorial Box post is. Thank you for understanding!}



PS Lots of stuff going on in this ol' noggin' - and I promise to do the baskets post soon! And to share my heart about some stuff...k?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Baskets

Okay guys! I have gotten such a kick out of all your comments about our laundry room. Yes, I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled with it and the money we have saved.....so thank you for your sweet words. {I love the idea of a framed picture of my Ugandan friend too!! Definitely gonna' do that - several of you guys made that suggestion - thanks for the idea!}



I also thought it was fun that you wanted to know what was in the baskets and a few of you asked if I would share that as well. Come on guys, you know so much about us....infact there have been a few times that I've thought the only thing you sweet bloggy friends don't know is how much I weigh {and you won't ever either - haha}.....so yes, I will happily share with you what goes in the baskets.....I thought I would take some more pictures tonight and then post them tomorrow to show you guys.



And Miss Trina, my sweet friend, I've recently been feeling led to start doing some posts about how to organize a large family as well as how to simplify life {meals, gifts, etc.}, so girlfriend - you been thinkin' what I've been "thunkin'". I am not an expert on either but will gladly show you friends what works well for us. So stay tuned.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Laundry Room

A few posts ago I eluded to some big things I was doing while Dw was in Africa. I thought it would be fun to show you the "biggest" thing I did.



Well first let me explain....we have been married for just about 32 years. We have built a few homes in our day. We have lived in big homes and we have even lived in a single wide trailer. We really have lived in many types of homes.



When our little log home {all 2,011 square feet of it} burned down we were left with two choices. Scrape the land and build again or just sell the land and find somewhere else. The kids agreed that we should stay here and build again.



Having built before, let me just assure you it was not our idea of a good time. We have "been there, done that". It is lots and lots of work. Just picking out all the stuff {cabinets, flooring, colors, sinks, lights, windows, you name it - ay-yi-yi!}



Sweat equity pays most and we have done lots in our 32 years. We have also bought some "fixer uppers" in our day (we affectionately have called them "dumps") and done tons of sweat equity on those as well. At our age, with a boatload of kids and with doing all the inventory on the fire {still working on it} building a house just didn't sound fun.



But Emma found a house plan and it was amazing because the outside looked like a home we had lived in for five years in Virginia and the inside looked like one we had lived in for 2 years. It would be familiar. We did not really go over the details. We just wanted it built, get in and settled and be done.



We were so surprised as we were moving in to find that the laundry room was small. Actually very small. I don't know what I was thinking as we built the house. It is more like a closet with a bit of space.



Anyway, after living here and spending our days climbing over laundry baskets and "stuff" we decided to get some bids to put an addition on this home. Might sound crazy to everyone else, but we knew that with the very real possibility of bringing more kids home, we had to do something to make the laundry situation more functional. We prayed alot. We talked alot. We had the bids. We would kind of reconfigure the back area and add a little addition.



So a few weeks passed and Dw left with the Uganda 2010 GO Team. I spent more time praying about the laundry room. While praying about my laundry room I began to think of Africa. I am so thankful I was able to go and spend almost 3 weeks there.


One Sunday while I was in Africa, I spoke in Ssenge Village church. After church we walked to the African Hearts Boys home not far from the church. So about two weeks ago while thinking and praying for the laundry room, I remembered taking this picture and God spoke to my heart. If we ditched the addition we would have more money to help the orphans. We would have more money to help others bring kids home.

Above is the picture I remembered. She was so sweet as I asked her if I could take her picture. Look at her laundry room. Check out her front loader machine. {Can you imagine how much her back must hurt while she bends like that?} As the Lord spoke to me about my African friend, my heart was broken yet again. I asked Him to forgive me for wanting bigger. My little laundry room is gorgeous - just the size it is.

Then the Lord gave me an idea how exactly to organize it by putting up some shelves instead of upper cabinets...using baskets galore - enabling me to organize every bit of everything.

I called our friend {a contractor who has had little work} and asked him if he would come while Dw was gone?

So when Dw came home I walked him around the house. And when I got to the laundry room I said, "Look! No addition! We're done!! More money for the orphans and to help bring more kids home to their forever families!!" He was thrilled too!! Graham and Emmy both loved it as well. It feels wonderful! Like a mansion....and should I ever feel complaining coming on, Lord, may I remember my sweet African friend whom I met as I walked in Ssenge Village.
Lord, would you please continue to break my heart with the things that break yours???

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Misplaced Papers?

While Dw was in Africa I mentioned that I had gotten a phone call from my doctor's office that I needed to come in to discuss the results to some tests I had had done before Dw left for Africa. Don't know about you, but I'd never had that happen before, so not only did I know it had to be important, it was also maybe even serious.


I hired a sitter and went that day to see her, Dw was just on his way to Africa and at the layover in Dubai. He hated being so far away!!


So the doc and I talked about what was found and she ordered some more tests. More extensive this time. So let's talk serious: They have found a problem. I know there is a problem. I have actually been blindly ignoring some symptoms for maybe even 2 years. Yeah. Long time. I just didn't really think about stuff and then we had the fire and I still thought, "Hmmm, that's weird." Or "Wonder why that's like that?" But I was just too busy to pay attention and I never put it all together until something happened that prompted a doc visit two days before Dw left for Africa.



Anyway, so after going to talk to the doc while Dw was still in Africa {and wouldn't be home for about 10 days} and her ordering yet some more extensive tests I kind of asked the Lord if it would be okay with Him to just not get the results until Dw came home. Mind you, I didn't want to tell the doctor's office I didn't want the results, I wanted the LORD to do that. =)


Well about that time I had kind of a little vision. I have only had a couple of times where I have seen something that seemed to be a message from God. Anyway, what I saw in my little vision was a girl working in my doctor's office and her misplacing my papers under a stack of stuff. I had total peace. I just really believed that I wouldn't hear a word till Dw was home.


Sure enough time passed and not a peep from the doctor's office. Then the very day Dw was on his way home and only 2 hours from home they called. They wanted me to come in and talk with the doctor. I just was grinning from ear to ear, sure enough HE had misplaced the papers just like I "saw" in my little vision from Him!! God you are so amazing to me!!


So today Dw and I went in to the doctors. She said, "There is alot of information I need to give you both." She spent an hour and a half with us. The bottom line is yes, there is something wrong. She has ordered some more tests and I am headed to a specialist. There is no one that specializes in this field in our city. Closest specialist in this field is 4 hours away. We are praying which specialist to go to. We can go to Albuquerque, Phoenix or Denver. In the meantime I had some more tests today.



And for everyone else??? Dw has been to the infectious disease doctor here as he is still having trouble and losing more weight and still has "it" pouring out. Graham is being treated for pneumonia and Josh has something that has sent him to the infectious disease doctor as well. Missions trips are huge threats to the enemy of our souls. Missions trips are not for the faint of heart. God's truths spoken to people desperately needing to hear them is a real threat!! For the record: We will not give up and we will not shrink back. Dw and I are actually planning the next trip to Uganda.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can You Take 20 Off Both?

So I went to the hairdresser today. I said I need a cut that takes 20 lbs off and 20 years off and doesn't make me look like I'm sick (since even one of you, my sweet bloggy friends from England noticed in the Mother's Day pics).
Here's what she came up with. It's a little too formal for me, since I would rather let the wind dry it. I asked Liberty to take my picture so you guys could see it. I sat so you could see the mountains in the background. And it is finally been two warm days in a row so sleeveless isn't freezing - yippee Jesus!! Liberty begged me to post this pic too. She was making me laugh. She's hysterical. Gracious I love that girl!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Gang's All Here {Well Almost All Are Here!}

My two favorite teenagers are in the house!!! Yippee Jesus they are home!! I've seen some pictures, heard several stories already....have cried multiple times at the things they have told me....and I am the happiest mom in the world...God is good. They are home safe. Dw is still sick. Autumn just arrived and said, "Dad, you're yellow." I had told him the same thing. I am wondering if the Hepatitis A is flaring up. I've heard it can do it for a long time after. As I type he is throwing up in the bathroom.



He has lost 12.5 pounds. But he persevered and told people the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, he challenged pastors to live in purity and faithfulness, he held orphans and worked hard........all the while leading a team of 15. God is always faithful.

So glad he is home with me....and he loved all I had done around the house......loved, loved, loved it. I will share what I did when I have a few moments. I am going to sit out in the sun with my best friend.
PS It's not too late to participate in the giveaway that I posted about yesterday!! Please do it....I can't wait to read your stories....xo

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Box Monday - A May Giveaway!!

I am hoping that you who are friends at A Place Called Simplicity are beginning to understand just how important a Memorial Box is. Here's the idea behind it:



Ya' know life was not easy for the Isrealites a couple of thousand years ago. Some of it was their own stupidity and some of it was just life. Reminds me of my life....some things have happened cause of my own stupidity and sometimes it's just life. Either way, God told the Isrealities to take some stones and build a memorial with them. Then when their children said, "Hey why is that pile of stones there?" the parents were to tell them the story of just how God had shown up. {At the bottom you will find the scripture that I'm talking about.}



Obviously we are not going to be dragging a bunch of rocks around....so instead our family has a box on the wall that we are filling with little symbols from each and every time God has shown up for us. Sometimes He has miraculously provided. Sometimes He has miraculously healed. Sometimes He has moved a mountain. Sometimes He has moved an entire mountain range!! Sometimes He has protected with His miraculous power. Sometimes He has surprised us with something! But all of the things remind us that He IS our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God!!!



I thought it would be fun to just have a giveaway today. I have been reorganizing {wait a second, to "reorganize" I think you have to first been organized - haha}...so as I was saying, I have been organizing this place while the bossman has been gone and lo and behold I have found several Memorial Boxes...so I thought today would be a great day to give one away!! {It is a small starter Memorial Box - a little antique sewing drawer that can be set on a shelf or if you are inclined to put hooks on the back it can be hung on a wall....either way, it's sweet as a button - sewing drawer---button, get it??}



So here's the rules:


Who can enter the Giveaway?

First off, to post a link or enter the contest by commenting a story you must be a friend of mine {by 'friend' I mean you are following along at A Place Called Simplicity and your little picture is under the "follower" portion on the sidebar.} If you have not been a friend before, then today would be a great day to join in with all the friends here. If you wonder why I require you to be a "friend" {aka follower}....well I dunno...I guess cause if someone just wants a Memorial Box, but they don't want to call themselves a friend, then it can almost just feel like they are merely "using" our family blog. Just imagine this: You have planned and worked hard and are having a party for your friends and random people happen to be driving down the street and see a bunch of people walking up to your home and decide they want to just come too and walk in to your house, eat your food and leave and don't say anything to you....and you never saw them before in your life!! Hope that makes sense - at least I'm sure it does to all of my friends.

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?
Two easy ways!!


1. You can do a Memorial Box Monday link. You must display our Memorial Box Monday picture {available on the sidebar}...and you must link with a permalink. Permalink is explained below. {If you don't connect with the permalink, I will be forced to delete your post.} You must also link your post back to here.

OR


2. Maybe you don't have a blog and/or would rather just leave a comment. The thing is that your comment must tell a story of something God did and what you would put in your Memorial Box to symbolize it. Or if you don't know what you would put, you can ask for some ideas....cause then we can comment with ideas...



Last time I had a giveaway of a Memorial Box I just let people leave a comment. That was waaaaay, waaaaaaaaaaaay, waaaaaaaaaay too easy. This time you have to tell us a story of God's faithfulness in your comment! His provision. His healing. Something He has done. Anything!!



Next week {probably} I am going to share a little story....let me tell you, it is the simplest story in the world of how God provided, but none-the-less I saw God's hand and thanked Him and praised Him.



If you are not sure what Memorial Box stories are like, click on the Memorial Box words highlighed below or at the bottom of the sidebar under "labels". You will find a whole bunch of Memorial Box Monday stories that our family has...



Lastly, now that I have explained Memorial Boxes again, let me just reiterate why we do this as a family. Last summer Dw, I and Liberty took Isaiah to Iowa City, Iowa for surgery. Prior to leaving Dw had been very, very sick. The kind of sick that worries a wife.



So here we were in Iowa, the morning after Isaiah's surgery, and Dw phoned me from the parking deck where he was. He was coming up with Liberty from the Ronald McDonald house to see Isaiah. But when he phoned me he told me he did not know if he was going to make it up to the floor. He was, once again, throwing up and so weak he wasn't sure he had the strength. I told him to bring me Liberty and head to the ER at the opposite side of the hospital.



Within hours Dw had been admitted as a patient. I was in Isaiah's room with a little guy just having some pretty sizeable surgery and here was my husband desperately ill on the opposite side of the hospital in a city where we had never been before.


They rushed Dw to do a sonogram and he texted me that it was his liver. I am not a medical buff and I knew how sick he was and had been for weeks, he had already lost about 15 pounds!! I instantly was overcome with fear. What if my husband had liver cancer in this strange city? And I started to cry and pray.



Immediately the Lord said, "What is in your Memorial Box?" I stopped. At that moment symbols of the things God has done for us started parading past my mind.....like that time when we had no idea what was going to happen and God rescued us or the time when we had that mountain range called "the Chin*se Government" saying that Isaiah could not come home and Almighty God moved the entire commun*st government and they reversed their decision!! One by one I remembered HIS faithfulness as I pictured all those little symbols and I was overcome by peace. That did not mean that life was going to turn out picture perfect...but rather that Faithful God has always had my back and He was about to leave me high and dry in Iowa City, Iowa!!!!!



That's why it's so important friends....the Isrealites kept forgetting {just like we do}...unless we have a tangible reminder....

So please enter the contest by commenting a story....or do a Memorial Box Monday story on your blog and attach a link. {Sorry, old posts don't count!!}





How do I enter a link to Memorial Box Monday?


Post the permalink from your blog below. A permalink is the URL to a specific blog post. In other words, each blog post has an address and the permalink is the street number and the avenue. For example, my blog address is http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/

But the permalink to this post is:
To get the permalink, I simply clicked on the post title and it popped up in the address bar. On your blog you must link back here to this blog and that your post is part of Memorial Box Monday at A Place Called Simplicity.......


When does the Giveaway End?



I set the MckLinky to close on Friday....so you will have till then to post a permalink to your Memorial Box Monday on your blog OR to comment with a Memorial Box story....so get thinkin' guys...I cannot begin to tell you how important it is!!





Joshua 4: 1-9
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight." So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.




Saturday, May 22, 2010

"My Mom in America"

I met this little guy when I spoke at the church in Ssenge Village while I was in Africa picking up Elijah and Elizabeth. He hung around me alot. And then he wanted ask me something. I bent over because he was talking so softly. He said, "Take me home with you to America. I want you to be my mom." It broke my heart. He lives with his grandma. I don't know what happened to his mom.
When he asked me to take him and be his mom I said, "I cannot take you because your grandma would be so sad, but I would love to be your mom. Can I be your mom in America? Would that be okay?" He looked so sad and dejected. I hated it. I cried. He desperately longs for a mom. How many other millions are there out there desperately longing for a mom?



Anyway, when the team arrived the other day to do the Pastor's conference, VBS and work on the Boys Home, he was in the crowd that had gathered. He quickly found Emma and said, "How is my mom in America?"



Emma gave him a present for me. But before she could give the gift to him, he handed her a note. On the outside it said: For my mom in America He had written it without even knowing that I had sent a gift for him.



Seriously friends....would you consider taking a missions trip? Loving on the kids who long for love? Who wish they "belonged"? Who only dream of belonging to someone who they can call "mom"?



Emma did not tell me what the inside of the note says. She wants me to see it for myself. I can't wait....and one day {soon!} I pray, I can go back and spend time with "my son in Ssenge Village".

Friday, May 21, 2010

How To Hear God Speak - Part 4

So where were we? =)


I mentioned in Part 3 that there is another very important key to hearing God speak. Part 1 is essential. This time though I would like to talk about something that goes hand in hand with Part 1. You cannot have one without the other and visa versa.

What would that key be?


Let's peek at John 10:27:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.


We can have clean hearts; we can be free from bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness; but if we don't do what He asks....He's not likely to talk often.


As I was praying about doing this post, I asked the Lord what little pictures I should put scattered throughout. Out of nowhere came the words: road signs. Not in a million years would I have thought of that on my own! Road signs. And then He spoke this: Road signs are just like me speaking to you. Sometimes I speak a warning, sometimes I speak a direction, sometimes I speak a directive, sometimes I speak a caution. Every single time I speak - it is for your benefit and you must follow!"


Wow! I love when He does that.



There is a little verse in Luke 16:10:



If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.


I think it is the key to many things in our spiritual walk. Frankly, if I can't trust my kids with $1.00 why would I hand them $100.00? If I can't trust them to obey me in the house, why would I hand them my car keys?



So where does obedience start? Well obviously it's a heart issue, but it starts with obeying God's word. Period. There is no option. We must obey God's word. And that is God's first test. Why would He talk to us if we aren't even listening and obeying His written word? His word says things like: Do not lie. Do not steal.


For instance: How many justify their lying by calling it "little white lies"? Oh.my.gracious. Dear friends - there are no such thing!! Little white lies, my eye. Lying is lying. And then it really amazes me that these same little white lying folks are disturbed that their kids are lying to them. Hmmmm.

God's word says we are to keep our hearts pure. We do that by 'feasting' on good things. Wholesome things. Things that build. That honor God. That draw us to Him.


I have to tell you a little story....Once upon a time Dw and I were pastoring on the East Coast. He was the District Supervisor in our denomination for Virginia and West Virginia. This meant that he oversaw all the churches in these two states, besides pastoring our church. He dealt with removing pastors, appointing pastors, tough situations, sometimes really tough situations.


Through a series of events Dw had to go to meet with a man who was planting a church and considering joining our denomination. The man and his wife graciously invited us to their home for the meeting. We had driven a long way so when we arrived at their home I asked if I could use their ladies room. The wife showed me to the powder room. I went in and sat down and glanced around. There was a magazine rack next to the commode. Did you realize that you can tell alot about a person by looking at their magazine rack? Alot.

Well right on top was a magazine that made me gasp! I was like, "Nu-uh!" I could not believe my eyes! I had never before opened this particular magazine. It was a magazine that I'm guessing had been bought by the lady of the house. I was shocked that she had it in her magazine rack....and this couple even had young children at home! The cover alone was gross. The articles disgusting. I debated opening it up and peeking. But I thought, "No, Lord. I want my heart to remain pure."


I was troubled. Why would this pastor's wife have this magazine? Why was it in her rack? I finished washing my hands and went back to the meeting. The meeting went well. I drink alot of water and a few hours later I went to the powder room again.



And guess what I found? The magazine had been removed! It was nowhere (I even peeked under the counter to see if she had stuck it there - she had not.) Ha! I was shaking my head...she had obviously removed it because we were there.....yet God was watching all along.



Isn't it funny that she was uncomfortable with us seeing it, but not uncomfortable with God seeing it? But that's the stuff I'm talking about. God pleads with us to keep our minds pure and yet people will watch any movie that comes out (cause so-n-so is in it!), sing along with trashy songs, and buy cruddy magazines....why? Seriously, why would God speak to us if we won't even listen to what He says in His word?



I remember a time many, many years ago. It's a long story but suffice it to say that a friend had betrayed me. She was my very best friend. We had been friends for 20 years. We knew each other well. If something went wrong, she was the first person I called. Before we moved out of Buffalo, we did stuff together all the time and we talked on the phone daily.



Anyway, one day she betrayed me. I was broken-hearted. Truly broken-hearted. It had not been a misunderstanding. No, she had intentionally done something that was very painful to my heart. Dw was in shock too. I remember going to church the very next day and a tender-hearted older gentleman came to me and said, "Linn, what's wrong? You look like you've lost your best friend." Tears burst from my eyes. He couldn't have been more prophetic with his comment! I sobbed for days. It was too unreal. How could my long-time, deeply trusted friend do this to me?



Since she lived in NY and I lived far away, we did not see each other after "the incident". Weeks passed and eventually my denial and disbelief turned to anger. If I told you the whole story you, too, would be angry for me. But anyway, at that point I needed to talk about it so I got on my computer and I typed her a letter!! I typed and typed and typed and typed! It was about 20 pages. I didn't send it, but every now and then I would "tweek" it. {It was actually very therapeutic.} Eventually the 20 pages were narrowed down to 13-1/2 pages. I decided I was going to send it to her. She definitely needed to understand just how much she had hurt me.



I still didn't send it for a few more weeks. Then I finally decided, "okay, tomorrow I will send it." The very next morning I woke up and God spoke very clearly before my eyes were even open. In an audible voice He said:

"In everything Christ must have the preeminence."


I instantly knew what He meant. I would obey. He must have the preeminence. I took that 13-1/2 page letter and tweeked it down to just 1-1/2 pages. I told her how much I loved her. How much I treasured our friendship and how much I wanted to work through this - because we had had too good of a thing going - too good to just turn and walk away. I had forgiven her. I mailed it with sweet peace. I had listened to my Lord. {On a sidenote: she chose to never respond, and yes, it still baffles me to this day.}


But no matter what I have no regrets. I let Christ have the preeminence. But what if I had chose not to obey Him? What if I had justified to Christ what "needed to be done"? Would He have trusted me with more? Would He have whispered secrets to me? I have my doubts. Now don't get the wrong idea: I have missed the mark many, many, many times! But the secret is to repent and turn and obey!

Remember in Part 2 of How To Hear God Speak I told the story of the Lord telling me that I needed to go get a bag and fill it for the Emma in the neighboring city whom I met in a restroom? I had a choice. I could obey or do my own thing. I chose to obey.



Just yesterday I went to town with the kids. We needed to get out of the house.
We went to Starbucks as our sweet friends, Dan & Lavonne, sent Liberty a gift card for her birthday. She was elated and so we went to get her Carmel Frapp. We were inside and I had ordered and paid for my Americano. Liberty had ordered and paid for hers. There had been someone who had walked in right behind us. She looked like her life had been a struggle, probably for many, many years. She looked beaten up by life, deeply saddened by life, and obviously very confused.


We go in to Starbucks often enough, our town is small, too, and so we know the people who work there. Jenny was doing the register. At one point I turned and apologized to the woman who had come in after us. She was waiting amongst all the confusion that my little boatload was creating at her side. She shrugged it off. My heart broke for her.


The Lord whispered in my ear, "Buy her drink." So I motioned to Jenny. She took my money. The lady never even saw it happen. She went to hand Jenny her credit card and Jenny said, "She got it for you." She turned to me with a shocked look. I walked with her toward the door as we left. She thanked me and said that I didn't need to do that. She said it several times. I said, "God loves you very much." She turned away. I imagine that she cannot even comprehend that God loves her. So I have been praying for her. That He would begin to soften her heart and that she would meet Him in a very real way. But what if, when the Lord whispered for me to pay for her I had rationalized it away? I would have missed a wonderful opportunity to be His hands by loving that woman.


Liberty hadn't seen me pay for her. As we were walking to our car Liberty whispered to me, "Did you see that man? I think she used to be a girl." I told Liberty I had paid for her. She was like, "You did???" We talked about how much pain she must be in and how much God loves her. We have prayed for her together since.



What if I'm not faithful in little things like the drink at Starbucks? Why would He trust me with big stuff?


Ummmm, He probably won't.


So we must obey the little promptings. We must obey His word. We must obey the signs He gives us. We must obey His whispers. We must get rid of the garbage: the little white lies, the cruddy movies, the lousey magazines, the trashy books, the junk that keeps us from hearing His voice....cause when we are clean and open and obedient we will be prepared to hear the Voice of God - the maker of Heaven and Earth...the maker of the stars....the maker of mountains and trees, the defender of the orphan, the advocate of the poor, the protector of the widow, the maker of it all....the one who longs to have us hear His voice...the one who longs to whisper secrets to us....


The LORD confides in those who fear Him....

Psalm 25:14 niv

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Country Life

One evening about two weeks ago Dw called to me to come see something. It was dusk and we watched two little tails swishing up in the tall grass just beyond the water running beside our property. I asked Dw what he thought they were, as we could only see the tails. He said he was pretty sure they were baby fox. It was really fun to watch their little tails bounce up and down above the grass. As we watched we could tell that indeed they were baby fox....their white tip on their tails quite noticeable....they were playing and tumbling and we had a sweet little show for a few minutes. They were completely oblivious to us.



The next morning I was up in the dark. I went to get a drink of water as it was starting to get light and out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. I turned and there they were again!! I was so excited I could hardly stand it....they were running and playing and tumbling right outside my kitchen window on the other side of the water....



As I watched I counted....there weren't two babies - there were SIX!!! I was nearly giddy...I stinkin' love livin' in the country....I had to wait till it got lighter to take pictures....and my camera is not spectacular....and I never got all six in one picture....but yes, there were six with two adults.


There are two pups in this picture. They are playing in front of the irrigation pipe...one on the left of center....one to the right of center and mom or dad is near that one...


The kids and I later read about fox. The babies are called pups. When they have a litter there are anywhere from one to ten in the litter of pups. The parents usually both stay around until they are raised. Sure enough I had seen two adults. Although there are times that a female, who isn't raising pups, will help another mom with hers...maybe she's the nanny, huh? It was absolutely fascinating.....Mom or Dad??


I wanted you guys to see them. So I took the screen off my kitchen window, climbed up on the counter to get a better view and snapped away. I'm sorry the pics aren't better....wish you could all come for coffee and stood on the counter with me and watched them....they are adorable....


They must have a den right on the other side of the water because we see them just about everyday, sometimes both morning and night. This morning Elijah and I were up at the crack of dawn. We were snuggling in the kitchen and I went to get something and out of the corner of my eye I saw something.....I could tell it was either mom or dad and the way they were walking I knew they were going for food.




I tried to show Elijah where he/she was, but he missed it. We kept watching, and kid you not, within a minute he/she came back with something large in their mouth....maybe a big, big rat?? Something. This time Elijah saw. It was amazing. We watched him/her walk carrying that thing back to where I believe the den is. Anyway, hope you enjoy the pictures.






I did not have the zoom on for this picture. It is right out my kitchen window and the little one had come through the fence that protects our treasures from the water just beyond. You can see just how tiny the pup is....really, isn't it darling? {It's just a speck above the flower container on the left.} Yeah, yeah, I know they are the ones who have been eating all my neighbors chickens...but you have to admit, they are really cute....



Hope you enjoy them as much as I do...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Around Our Home

On Mother's Day Autumn told me that she had a really special present ordered for me, but it hadn't arrived yet. I could hardly wait!! Her motivational gift is giving and she always picks out extra special stuff. Yesterday she called me at the crack of dawn to ask if she could come over and give it to me since it had arrived. I said I would put the coffee on...I love spending time with my only blue-eyed of the bunch!!



I was so stinkin' excited - I don't think there is anything more wonderful to me than pictures of our family and she had gone and made one of our favorite pictures into a blanket....so while I am at it I will give you a little peak into our home....{I had Liberty hold it from the other side so you could get a good look}...Isn't it just so fun???Here's what it looks like from the foyer.....and it will hang eventually like a quilt on the wall just to the left of where you see it now......up high and letting all who enter know - we are family and we really, really, really, really love each other and yes{!} we have a blast together!! Here's a peak at the foyer.....someone gave us the table....and I found the chair at a yard sale for $5.00. {Did I mention that bargains are my specialty??} And the picture seems to say it all....Amazing Grace...except for God's grace six of the kids and I would not be here in this new home....His Grace is Amazing and we cannot thank Him enough for His protection that day....While I am at it I thought I would show you the picture frame on that foyer table. A bloggy friend, Keri, wrote one day and said she had a gift certificate to Kohl's and since she didn't need anything maybe we could find some things to decorate our home. How generous was that?? And many of you have been so generous as well....Rebecca sent a beautiful manger scene to decorate our home for Christmas....a bloggy friend from Wales sent a beautiful carved cross to hang which is now next to the wood stove....three of you sent kitchen towels...and the list goes on....gifts of love from you guys from all over the world....again, simply amazing!Anyway, at Kohl's I prayed and searched and just as I thought I was about to call it quits....I turned a corner and found these two {above and below} frames that scream "Lodgey"....our favorite look....I was actually squealing in that store....they are so "us" and make our house so much more of a home.... Anyway, so the kids and I have been hanging out doing fun stuff and I have {successfully} been trying to organize our home. We have lived here 5 months, a trip to China, Christmas, New Years, 5 kids birthdays, Jubilee's adjustments, trips to Denver for Jubilee to see the doctor, Jubilee's surgery in Denver, Mark coming to live with us & staying 4 months, Mark leaving, whew...the place has been what would be politely described as "organized chaos"....but since my man has been gone I have been kickin' bee-hind....and Dw, Emma and Graham will notice the difference. I have also made some executive decisions.....and won't they be surprised about something I decided on!!??! =) But I can't tell, cause I want them to be surprised!! Here's my predictions: Graham? He'll be relieved. Emma? Not so sure what she'll think. Dw? Yeah, well he'll be shocked and say, "Really?" Yup babe. Really. Infact, 200% positive.


FYI, just before he left he said, "Make decisions. Just make some."
Oh boy, sure hope he meant it.
haha


And thank you to all who have been praying.....the results from the testing that I had at the hospital yesterday might be in tomorrow or Friday.

Right Now In Africa

Thought I give another update on Africa....the team has been working hard!! Dw said that at the pastor's conference day two was unbelievable. He said he had never before spoken with such a complete awareness that he was speaking the very words of God.......there was such a keen awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. And only because people {like you!} are praying!! Please, please,please don't stop!! Emma has an amazingYippee Jesus kind of report to share, but I'll let her do that!! Last night I talked to him for just about one minute. The team was at the first of three orphanages they are visiting. They were actually at the one pictured here....but while I am at it, I have to draw attention to the little green box the little one is holding next to Dw. Do you see it? That is a Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoe box. {Samaritan's Purse was started by Franklin Graham - son of Billy Graham, yes, and that's who our son Graham was named after, a great man of God who never, ever once had a scandal, but saw thousands upon thousands come to Christ! What a legacy!}
It is a "shoe box" brought by Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child to orphans around the world. This picture was taken in July 2008 {infact all the pictures in this post were taken in July 2008}. Several of the little boys and girls, when they saw Dw and Emma, ran to get their shoe boxes. They opened them and Dw and Emma saw their treasures - broken little toys - but none-the-less, their own treasures. Emma had taken them all Beanie Babies....and they were thrilled with them...Anyway, right at this moment Dw is speaking at a Crusade. These are powerful places for people to come to Christ, they are also powerful places for the enemy to stir up trouble. Last year during the crusade a witch doctor showed up. He was up to no good. Then a man drove a motorcycle into the crowd. But the enemy hates when people hear the life changing message of Jesus Christ. So as I type this the crusade is going on. Please be praying!! Update: I just talked to Dw, he said the crusade was such a move of God....the team prayed with many who came to Christ...will share more about that later....African Hearts....these boys all once lived on the streets fending for themselves...And lastly I had to show you some pictures of our sweet Elijah and Elizabeth from 2008 when Dw found them in Africa. Elizabeth singing a worship song days after meeting Daddy....Elijah, so sad looking....just needin' a mommy and daddy
Beds at one of the orphanage they were at today...

My Elijah...Elizabeth Mercy needin' her mommy to come get her....My Sweet Baby Girl....
PS I went on Samaritan's Purse site to put the hyperlink with the mention of it. I found an Urgent Prayer Request...three Samaritan Purse Employees in Sudan were abducted yesterday...Please would you join me in praying for their safe return? One is a woman, two men. If I had not already eaten breakfast I would begin to fast immediately. Who can imagine? The sacrifices of so many we cannot even begin to grasp in our cushy little homes. Please pray with me.