Thursday, June 28, 2012

Joining Hands Around the World

As most of the world knows the state of Colorado, and particularly Colorado Springs, is experiencing an onslaught of devastating wildfires.   The damages are catastrophic and it is not even close to over.


There are also fires in California, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania {there may be others}.   Here is a map that is absolutely crazy to look at:  Fires in the United States right now.

The loss has been overwhelming and there appears to be no end in sight to many of the fires.

The exhaustion of those fighting the fires, the grieving of those so affected by all the tremendous loss, those manning and/or living in evacuation shelters, those with breathing difficulties {on a good day!},  and just imagine the pressure on those making the decisions in it all  - they are all in such desperate need of prayer!

Who better to pray for all the needs but those watching from the sidelines?

And that would be you and me, sweet friends.

I feel like the Lord has urged me to call for a three day prayer and fasting vigil.

Friday, June 29
Saturday, June 30th
Sunday, July 1st

Bloggy friends, you have joined arms with myself and others around the world on various occasions before.  You have faithfully prayed.  Many of you have fasted.  And God has moved.  He has moved in mighty ways.

In fact scripture says that some things don't even happen without prayer and fasting.

I am also reminded that God's word tells us that we are to "Do to others as we would want them to do for us."

Dw, the kids and I know the devastation of losing our home to a tragic fire.  We are feeling the heartache and loss with those experiencing it all right now.   I keep crying thinking about it all.

And we also know, that if we were in the shoes of those so effected by all the fires we would be humbled, broken and ever grateful to know that people around the world were joining together to pray and fast for an end to the fires.

If you have never fasted before, I would encourage you to even fast just one meal.  There is an excellent article about fasting here.

Fasting is not demanding anything.   God is the final authority.  But it is coming to Almighty God with utmost reverence and humbly repenting of any sin in our lives then asking for His hand of mercy to move on a situation while denying ourselves food at the same time.

Fasting is always acknowledging that He is the final decision maker to anything we would be asking Him for.

Truthfully, it is the most powerful way that I, personally, am able to draw close to the Lord.  I hear Him speak to me most frequently when I am in the midst of a fast.

It is a spiritual discipline that is not optional.  There are mandates throughout scripture to fast.  And there are specific instances in scriptures where groups of people fasted to see a mighty move of God.

If you have never fasted before, please consider joining in by even fasting one meal.

Please also consider asking your friends, family, Bible studies, prayer groups and churches to join in this prayer and fasting vigil.  

There are other needs around the country.  Please feel free to list them in the comments below.  We will be covering them in prayer over the next three days as we join together for those whose arms are weak and whose hearts are growing faint.

Will you please consider joining hands with us by committing to pray specifically and/or fast for at least part of this three day event?    

On behalf of those affected by it all, thank you.    

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One More Way





Dw and I have long said, that we truly believe many want to do something for the orphan.  Most just don't know where to begin.  Here's a beautiful opportunity to do something with just a few simple 'clicks'.  




Project Hopeful
is a non-profit that began in hopes of educating and encouraging people worldwide to the reality of being an orphan with HIV+ and/or living with AIDS.  Project Hopeful's goal is to dismiss the stigma and fears while giving hope to adoption for the many treasures around the world that are HIV+ or living with AIDS.
















This beautiful organization does just what it's name says, it brings hope to many.

Well at this moment, Project Hopeful is in the midst of a race, if you will.  A contest.  A challenge.  

And we get to help them win!

There is an organization out there which is giving $50,000. away to a non-profit.  And the way they choose the winner?  The one with the most votes, of course!

So here's where we come in.  

It's super easy.  

Click on this link.  {It will ask you to sign in to your Facebook account to vote, if your computer is already signed in, you won't need to.}  

The page will display will display 30 non-profits that are all competing for the prize.  

Please make sure you scroll to Project Hopeful.  Project Hopeful's title says, "Advocating for Waiting Children Around the World."  

There are three days left to vote.  

Each day each person can vote once.  

Please consider doing this today, Thursday and Friday.  

And just think, a couple of clicks and you will have done something so simple, but yet, powerful for the orphans around the world living with HIV+.  

Thank you on behalf of Project Hopeful and the orphans.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Update: Sol and Christine

This morning their blog said that in the midst of the literal prison they found themselves in, a pastor passed Sol a Bible and opening it,  Sol's eyes fell on the words of Psalm 31.

Isn't it just like the Lord to do that?  Providing just what we need at just the exact moment.


Their blog has since been removed.  

Please continue to pray for their situation, it obviously is still very concerning for all.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Place Called Simplicity

After Tyler, Sarah and baby Charlotte left the other morning I needed a big task to kind of keep my mind off things.  For those who have been hanging around our Place Called Simplicity for any length of time, you know what a family gathering usually means.  Yup, it does.  And that makes hugs goodbye almost unbearable.

We gathered together and prayed for the days ahead as they left.  Hugging in a large huddle, praying to the God who is ever present whether on this side of the world or the far side of the world....thankful that He holds each of our treasures in the palm of His mighty hand.

So I went to the garage to think, pray and work and have hardly left since then.

Since Dw, my friend Megan and the kids packed everything in Durango and moved it, I never had a chance to sort through the stuff before we moved.  So we have left the vast majority of our things in boxes in the garage, knowing that another move was likely imminent.

Consequently I've been out in the garage sorting through box upon box upon box.  Most of them were in the shed and had not been in the fire {thankfully}.  I've been sorting and tossing all that can be tossed.  Old treasures, home schooling supplies, Christmas decorations, kids treasure boxes, files, etc.

I had to pray, since I am such a sentimental ol' gal that I would have the courage to toss.  And I am happy to report that I have tossed, tossed and tossed some more.  I keep reminding myself, oh yeah,

"Our Place Called Simplicity"

You know:

Simplify

Simplify

Simplify

I also remind myself that the upside of this silver hair is that I will not remember most of what I tossed, right?


Believe it or not, I have pared the boxes down to about half!!  I have been workin' hard - you can be sure!  They once numbered from 1 - 72,  I think.  Then we lost a bunch in the fire and now the numbers are hodge-podge and finally there are only about a few {comparatively} left.

Having lost everything that was in our home in the fire, it's been pretty fun to see a few special things in the boxes from the shed.

Some of the boxes are those of the grown kids who have yet to take their childhood treasures to their homes.  I've had some fun peeking in and remembering.  I even found maternity clothes I had wore with Abigail.  {That would be 30 years ago right now!}  Abigail thought that young expecting moms would probably love them as they are now "so 80's".  Kind of funny to think of my stuff being vintage now - makes me feel pretty old!  Who knew?

Currently it's a balmy 104 degrees outside and probably a hotter inside the garage.  The garage door is open blowing the warm breezes over the warm tears that start up every now and then.  Loved them all being here, hate that they're gone, dreading the days ahead and all that it means.

Reveling in the fact that we have fresh memories that we cherish together.  Old home movies we watched for a bit.  Secret giggles we share.  Games we played together around the table.  Things that no one else would understand.

Love my God, love my hubby, love my kids and sure do love my life.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Continue to Pray

Thank you for your support of Christine and Sol and their children.  It will be dawning morning in Accra, Ghana as most of us head for bed.  Please continue to pray for healing from the trauma they all have experienced and for wisdom and peace as this horrible situation is worked through.

I know many of you, like me, wake in the night and find your first thoughts of Sol and Christine.  Isn't the body of Christ amazing like that?  He is faithful and, no doubt, loves when we come together on bended knee for one another.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Update Again

Sol and Christine have been released from prison on bail.  Their biological children have also been released.   Their bio children were released to the US Embassy custody, but at least they are together.

Please pray for their emotional healing from the last 40 hours of trauma.

This has only happened because of Almighty God's movement on behalf of those on bended knee for Sol and Christine.

The children they went to adopt in Ghana are still in the orphanage.

There is still much prayer needed.  Please don't stop!

But for tonight, we rejoice at the faithfulness of God!

Another Update: Sol and Christine

The most recent update:

It looks like Sol and Chris will be released from jail soon and will be reunited with their bio children! Their adopted children however will NOT be released from the children's home.



PLEASE continue to pray that the Lord would move every mountain and that these precious ones will soon be back with their "forever" family and heading back to the U.S. as soon as possible!

Thank you!

Update on Sol and Christine

This we know:

ALL pertinent government officials have been engaged since early this morning. There is a quiet confidence that everything that can be done IS in fact being done by our government to resolve this issue and reunite this family.

Please continue to pray for a QUICK release. This is an innocent family and this has been a terrible act of injustice.....

So beautiful how the internet unites the body of Christ...I believe with all my heart that Sol, Christine and all six of their children must have been given a grace that only would come from Jesus Christ....their firm foundation.

I am reminded of Daniel in the Lion's Den...and how God closed the mouths of the ferocious beasts as Daniel waited.

Thank you for praying!  Keep it up!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trouble in Africa - Prayer Needed Now!

There is an urgent prayer request.

A couple are in Ghana adopting four children.  They took their two biological kids along with them.

It seems that something has gone terribly wrong and the couple have been accused of child trafficking and have been thrown in prison.  Their two biological children have been put in an orphanage where their four soon-to-be-adopted children also remain.

Would you please pray that this situation will be made right immediately?

That God will protect them all?

That God will give wisdom and intervene on their behalf?

It has been said that the American Embassy will not be investigating anything until Monday.

Here is the family's blog.  It does not have any updated information at this point.

Please pray for the little ones, their soon-to-be adopted children and the parents:  Christine and Sol.

Here is their family picture:


Dw is contacting our friend who is a pastor in Ghana.  Remember just last year Dw and Emma were there staying in the Ghanian pastor's home and doing a Legacy Leadership Conference.   Please pray that they will have connections to help immediately.

Never

Never.

Never.

Never.

Never.

Never enough pictures.

Never enough time.

Never enough laughing.

Never enough talking.

Never enough memories.


Never enough moments.

Never enough hugs.



Never enough.

Never ever enough.

As a parent of grown children, others understand.

As the parent of a son in the Speci*l Forces, there is never, ever, ever, enough.

Ever.

Always thankful, but feeling it deep on our souls today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

His Mommy Found Him...

Remember the little guy who we asked for a family for a couple of weeks ago?

Remember, he was the precious treasure whose diagnosis reminded me a lot of our Ruby girl?

Well wonderful news abounds -


 His mommy found him!

Check it out for yourself by clicking the above red link....

And there are pictures....and boy-oh-boy is he ever adorable and his mommy looks so happy....

Thank you to all who prayed and like the post said, there were over SIX families who responded....how amazingly beautiful is that?

And I'm sure that Linda would love any prayers you would offer on their behalf in the days ahead, should the Lord bring them to mind.

Personally, I am love, love, lovin' that Linda is a single mom.  Oh yes, indeed.  That is mighty, mighty sweet of the Lord.  Go Single Moms!

And a gigantic ol' Yippee Jesus from over here in Phoenix!

A Sneak Peek


Thought you all would enjoy a little peek into our days...
Giggles, snuggles and lovin' everywhere...
Seriously, could she get any more gorgeous?
Our littlest Miss is just about the exact age Tyler was when he came home,
{ahhh, the memories that return}.  


Finn has cooked up some delicious stuff for us.....
haha
{If only I had taken a picture of what he 'cooked' in the microwave,
you all would get a good chuckle...}

Just one perk of older siblings...
playing with their iphones...








Once-upon-a-time Tyler was our Lego champ.
 When he was quite a little guy he even won a Lego contest 
sponsored by Target stores.
It was amazing!
And while here Tyler and the kids have spent hours building creations...


Tumbling
and
Playing it cool with Mom
{When I pulled my camera out, they threw their sunglasses on.}

Elijah's jet 
and
Isaiah's ship

Abigail and Finn had to head home last night.
ugh.

Slllloooow down time.
Slow down.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Surprise of a Lifetime

Yesterday Tyler and Sarah and our precious new granddaughter arrived to spend a few days with us.  Our hearts are overflowing.  And for the record, she is beautiful beyond beautiful!  We are completely smitten.

After being here a few hours Tyler announced he was going to meet a fellow soldier for coffee and asked Dw to go along.   I thought {although I didn't say anything}, "That's so weird.  Tyler is not exactly the social butterfly and besides, dinner's gonna' be ready soon.  Well, okay, whatever."

Well as it was, they didn't come back and didn't come back and didn't come back and dinner was done, the dishes cleaned up and still no sign of them.  Eventually the kids were tucked in and Ruby and I were heading in the direction of bed as well.

I hadn't called to see where they were cause frankly, the whole thing was a tad annoying and I didn't want to sound like I was a bit frustrated {I figured sleep would help me feel cheerier.}.  After all, it was now going on 4 hours of coffee around the corner?  Seriously?

I decided I would just relax and enjoy Sarah and baby Charlotte, Emma and Josh {who is visiting} and Graham and Liberty.

Ruby was needing her bottle so I was snuggled feeding her.

Suddenly, I heard the front door open.  I turned from where I was on the couch giving Ruby her bottle.  I saw Dw in the shadows, but because it was so dark, it was hard to see.

But wait!

Dw was holding the hand of a little African boy!

I squinted trying to see?

My first thought was, "What is Elijah doing outside coming in the door with Daddy?"  {But Elijah is a cautious kid so I knew that it was not really him!}  THEN I realized this little guy was shorter....

My mind was reeling and racing....who was there?

Well the coffee around the corner was a cover.  Tyler had gotten his dad in the car and said, "Show me how to get to the airport, Abigail and Finley are on their way!"  Dw was like, "WHAT?"

BUT the comical thing that had happened was that Abi had booked these extremely cheap tickets to Phoenix.  Only one catch!  It was not the Sky Harbor airport, but some airport 71 miles from our home.   Only thing was Dw didn't know.  Either did Abi or Tyler.  So Dw and Tyler pulled up to the curb and asked a cabbie which terminal this particular airlines flies into.  He pointed out of the airport and said non-chalantly, "Oh, you know.  They only fly into the Mesa airport.   Tyler and Dw were laughing and laughing.  Oh, yeah, we know.  Of course we know.

They cooked this little surprise up for us months ago.  They begged Autumn and Karl to come, but they were unable. They kept begging her.  She still was unable.

But at least we have 10 of 11 kids home.  Our two grand babies are here and now every one has gotten to meet their newest sister Ruby.





A time of great joy.  I've been praying these next few days go in slow motion.  Tears at the thought of it ending.   Community water park today.  Hanging around.  Telling old stories of growing up days.  Such wonderful memories being made.

I am the most blessed mom of many in the whole world.  Sixteen of our treasures under this rental roof.  Our hearts overflow.

PS I was so glad I hadn't gotten grumpy.  That would have ruined everything.




Finn-Finn




Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Miracle of Ruby - Part 2

Part 2

As I begin this very, very vulnerable post let me first please emphasize, again, what I mentioned in Part 1: Out of respect for our openness and vulnerability, if you have not read Part 1 in it's entirety, then please do so thoroughly before reading this Part 2. 

Some may wonder why it is so important to me to ask you to read Part 1 and then Part 2 and why it matters that it is not merely skimmed.  I think it is a respect issue.  

Have you ever been sharing your heart with someone and you notice them checking their phone?  Or maybe you find them glancing around and all the while you are pouring your heart out and you know, without a doubt, that they are only half listening, at best.  And your heart thinks:  "Wow, this really doesn't matter to them" yet it is my heart being laid bare!?!  Well, it's along those same lines.

Anyway, back to The Miracle of Ruby

This is our Ruby's story and really, our family's story.  This is not a medical dissertation.  It is merely a story of medical things mixed together with the mighty hand of God and the miracles that ensue, all because of Almighty God's deep power and ever-working love.  

After hearing of Ruby I was praying earnestly that she would be ours.  I remember crying out to the Lord and saying, "I am so scared.  What if she doesn't even live?  What if we attempt to get her home and she doesn't make it?  {Yes, "what ifs" are the worst and totally not where God desire us to rest, but no doubt, I am very human too!}  

When Dw had taken Ruby for her CT scan it was confirmed that she had hydrocephalus.  We have long said, that the only true special need any orphan-treasure has is for a family.  No doubt, all Ruby needed was a family and we were praying it would be us!

Dw also, couldn't stand leaving Ruby behind in Africa.  He was incredibly torn.  He felt like he was abandoning her.  He had held her and sang probably hundreds of times, "Oh how I love Jesus"...how could he leave her now?  His life would never be the same.  Motivated by God's love for the orphan, he definitely would admit that this tiny six pound dying treasure had changed his world and there was nothing worse than leaving her behind, not knowing what would happen to her.
  
After the week in Ghana doing another Legacy Pastor's Leadership Conference, Dw and Emma landed in Chicago and it was then that he found an email from the director of the baby home

He called me from O'Hare Airport and read it to me aloud.  We both started to cry.  It was asking us if we would consider adopting Ruby, and reminding Dw that he had said we would do anything for her.  BUT it also said that the doctor who oversees the care of the little treasures at the baby home had examined Ruby and that he had also looked at the results of her CT scan. She told us his prognosis:  

"The doctor's report was very disappointing and I do not want to believe it.  He said that from the scan it shows that in addition to the water in her head, her brain has not properly developed like that of  a normal child and that there is nothing that can be done for her.  He also said that taking her to CURE hospital will not help."  

This faith-filled director of the baby home went on to say "that she did not want to believe his report and that she would choose to believe the report of the Lord - that Ruby would be well".  She then asked: Would we believe with her the report of the Lord?

We both cried in grief.  The trauma that she had endured was unfathomable.  Sick, abandoned,  desperately ill and grotesquely malnourished.  She needed us all the more!  We tucked the information from the doctor in the back of our hearts, not even talking of it and went full throttle at trying to get her home as quickly as possible.  Every minute there she was on our minds.  She needed hope, she needed unconditional love and she needed it now!

Dw and Emma got home and there were a flurry of activities as we tried to finish up our home study and then, less than four weeks later, Karl was in the horrible accident and lay in a coma.  My heart was in two places, with Autumn and Karl in the ICU and with Ruby in Africa.  It was a horrible and desperate time!  

I remember saying to my precious friend {who is also Karl's aunt} as he lay in the coma, "Ruby needs me to come for her." Lisa said, "Linny, you be about God's business and He will be about yours."  We ministered in every way we could while Karl lay in that coma and it brings me great peace to know that the Lord was sending people to love on our baby girl when we were unable. 

When the paperwork was complete for Emma and I to travel to Uganda to get Ruby, Karl had just been moved to the rehab hospital in Denver.  Knowing the Lord was working behind the scenes gave me comfort. 

Once landed in Uganda, Emma and I set to getting all the necessary paperwork done to bring her home.  She was so frail and so weak.  Her fontanel {which is still quite large} was bulging.  Hydrocephalus needs close monitoring.  

Dw called CURE hospital in Mbale, Uganda {where Ruby had been taken in early July but was too weak to have surgery done} and talked to a doctor there.  He told Dw to tell me to come the next day and he would see Ruby.  We hastily made plans to take the 5 hour trek to Mbale to see Dr. J.  We arrived just in time for our appointment.  Mama B from the baby home was with us.  Dr. J is a wonderful Ugandan national who is also a skilled neurosurgeon.  Such a kind-hearted man.      
He saw us immediately and they did another CT scan.  I will never forget standing with Emma and Ruby in the room as Dr. J reviewed her CT scan on the screens in front of us.  He took his time and kept shaking his head.  He was hemming and hawwing a lot but explained to me that Ruby had a very unusual case of hydrocephalus.  There were so many pockets of water!  But then he said, "She has had many infections in her brain.  The infections appear to have eaten her brain away."  

Even typing the words I choke back the tears and sobs.

Such powerful emotions in all that Ruby has been battled, struggled through and endured.  

I have looked at MRI's of the brain quite a few times because of the Multiple Sclerosis I have. I had seen CT scans of the brain before.  Although only a mom, with no medical experience, I could tell that water filled much of Ruby's skull.  Before he even said it I thought to myself, "where is her brain?" 

He studied the pictures.  He went back and forth between the slides.  He shook his head slowly side to side.  He told me how loving it was that we were adopting her.  I started to cry, in fact I was pretty much sobbing.   I tried to explain to him that it was our joy to be bringing her home.  Nothing mattered.  We wanted her, just like she was.  She was perfect to us no.matter.what.

When we landed in the United States, Ruby's neurosurgeon here in Phoenix {Dr. S} confirmed all the neurosurgeon at CURE hospital said.  The infections must have been really bad and they must have lasted a long, long time.  Her brain is only there is small bits.  Large portions are missing. 

So sweet friends, that is what the medical experts say 
{albeit some of the kindest men we have ever met}

 BUT we will believe the report of the Lord.

Now I got to thinking as I sat in the hospital those three plus weeks after landing with Ruby.  I thought, we need a way for Ruby to communicate.  So I began to teach her two simple signs.  Just two, but if she did them, she would be clearly indicating that she knew what she was doing and she would be saying, "I know you are understanding me and going to meet this need for me."  Within a couple of months, Ruby began to do both signs without any prompting and she is doing them daily.  

Yes, indeed.

Miss Ruby Grace is talking to us through SIGN! 

Oh yes she is!!

When I wrote to Dr. S at Phoenix Children's to tell him she is signing, he immediately sent a note back:  "You have made my day, my week, my month and my year!"  I could hear the joy. 

Ruby defies every medical odd by signing these two signs.  

It is a MIRACLE!!

Oh yes she does!

We will believe the report of the Lord!

She is able to roll over {not all the time, but she can and does do it}.

Oh yes she does!

We will believe the report of the Lord!  

She has begun to giggle.

Oh yes she does!

We will believe the report of the Lord!



She has begun to play with us, clearly teasing and playing.

Oh yes!

We will believe the report of the Lord!

These steps might be considered tiny to some - but they are STEPS and they are HUGE for our treasure Ruby.

A therapist evaluated her a few days ago. 

As she watched Ruby communicating with us, she said, "Ruby is a miracle, a true miracle!"  

We will continue to believe the report of the Lord.

Will you believe with us?

Will you pray for Ruby if the Lord should bring her to mind?

Will you celebrate with us the victories she has?

And if you should happen to share Ruby's story {please feel free to do so}.....will you remember to share that we are believing the report of the Lord?  That His healing power is at work in her precious body.  That she is communicating with us.  That each step is a victory and that God has a very unique plan for her life and she is a treasure to His heart?  

And please, tell anyone you meet that although some would consider her special needs great, that her family considers her the greatest gift they have ever been given.  

A treasure.  

A precious gem from the heart of God - our beautiful Ruby Grace.  

Yesterday

Please forgive me for not getting part 2 posted yesterday.  Something unexpected happened and I was not able to.  Let's just say that the day did not go as intended, planned or expected!  Suddenly things got so concerning that I was frantic!

Late in the day I called Renee, my precious friend and 'go to' person for the Knee Team.  After a time of prayer with Renee, it was her suggestion to contact the Knee Team for prayer.

I cannot thank the Lord enough for this precious and committed group of women around the world who hit their knees on our behalf.  Within minutes the situation that had consumed the day and was very concerning began to turn around.   It was only miraculous - the matchless name of Jesus trumps everything!

Lord willing, I will be posting Part 2 later today.

Thank you for understanding.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Miracle of Ruby - Part 1

This powerful story is lengthy, so I have decided to divide it into two parts. 

It is a vivid reminder of the mighty hand of God.  But it is also a very personal and private story.  A sacred story, if you will. A story that I do not share lightly. I have literally spent months praying about opening up about this. I suppose my hesitancy in sharing is partly because of the way I was wired by God. Fiercely protective of my little ones and extremely private. Yes, I know, I know, having a very public blog doesn't really fit with an extremely private woman, now does it?   You have to agree, the Lord definitely has a sense of humor in all that.  

I have shared a few things in the past that are very personal and private. And just like those specific times, I have only one request. If you are going to read this, would you please read it thoroughly without skimming? There is a tendency in bloggy land to hop on each blog for a second, skim and hurry` away.

Out of respect for this intimate story, I would kindly ask that if you do not have the time to take to read this in it's entirety that you stop now {and move along} because this is not a 'skimmer' type of story. We have a God who is very detailed. And trust me, in this situation, each intricate detail matters. Because it is in those obscure details that we see the most powerful miracles of Almighty of God on our behalf.

And so the story begins...

Just about one year ago today Dw called me from Africa. He was there, with Emmy, leading a large team. He kept starting to cry as he told me about a desperately sick little baby girl at the baby home. The very same orphanage where we had brought Elijah and Elizabeth home from. Now my Whitey is a tender hearted man to begin with, but this was different. She was deathly ill. Yes, deathly. He kept crying as he spoke.

He didn't know if she would live through the night and he felt frantic to save her life. He felt, if you will, a sense of responsibility to her. He had held her. He could not turn his back. She needed him. Desperately. Frail beyond words. So incredibly weak. Several on the team were actually afraid of her. They even shied away from her, she looked as though she might break if held. As though death could take her at any moment.

Her skin was transparent and there was not an ounce of anything on her. The old saying, "Skin and bones?" She was the living version of it. At just about a year old, she weighed only a fragile 6 pounds.

When he told me she was just about a year old and only weighed 6 pounds, I gasped. Six pounds is pretty low birth weight, but at a year old? I began fasting for this baby girl. Hearing him describe her, knowing how passionate he was about saving her life, and the sound of him choking back tears from across the ocean, I instantly fell in love with her.

Each day Dw would call to make sure all was well at home, but immediately would say, "I have to run and check on my baby girl, please Linny, please pray she is still alive." I would assure him, I was praying like crazy.

He petitioned the director saying, "What do you need for her care? Linny and I will do anything, anything at all." The director said she needed a CT scan to confirm the hydrocephalus. It was set that he would take her with a mama from the baby home.

A day or so later, Emma sent a few pictures to my email. Emma had taken some pictures of the baby so I could feel it with them. She told me not to post them anywhere or to send them to anyone, but she wanted me to see just how sick this little girl was. My eyes filled with tears and I couldn't believe the pictures. I had never seen anything like her in all my 50+ years. {There was even a picture of her without any clothes on. I still can hardly bear to look at it. It is a powerful picture that words cannot adequately describe.}

On June 14th, 2011 I told you, my bloggy friends, about her. I asked for special prayer for her, that God would spare her life and heal her. I know many, many, many of you were moved and began to pray for this little treasure.

In the meantime, Dw continued in close communication with the director. She is a woman who deeply cares about the little ones she has been entrusted with. She was, no doubt, willing to do anything for this baby and so were we.

I could think of little else. I pleaded over and over with the Lord, petitioning Him to spare her life. He reminded me that He had preserved and protected her in the garden near Kampala, Uganda where she had been abandoned, fragile and dying. He had spared her life for a purpose. He would not allow her to die now. He had a very specific plan that only she could fulfill.

As the days passed and I continued fasting off and on for her, I began to petition Him that we would be chosen to be her mommy and daddy. I sensed that this was going to be His plan. I began to get so excited dreaming of having a baby again - I could hardly stand it.

Mind you, I had been talking on the phone to a friend not even two months prior and mentioning that if the Lord brought us the opportunity to have a baby I would firmly pass. We were over our baby days. I giggle to think of that now. And I'm quite certain that the Lord gets quite a chuckle out of our random comments from time to time, you know what I mean? When I told my friend that, He probably was thinking, "Oh bite your tongue Linny Lee - seriously girl - just you wait and see what you yourself will be {literally} begging me for in about 2 months!"

When Dw and Emmy were leaving Uganda {to head to Ghana for another Legacy Pastor's Leadership Conference} Dw went down to the director's office three separate times to make certain she understood that we were willing to do anything {anything!} for this precious baby girl. He wanted to be absolutely positively assured that she knew, without a doubt, that we would pay for any medical care she would possibly need in the future.

So it was on the 22nd of June, 2011 as he and Emma were landing in Chicago after being in Ghana another week, that there was a letter in the his email from the director reminding him that he said that we would do anything and asking if we would consider adopting her and bringing her to the United States for medical care. Her letter also contained something else though.

And that is where we will pick up tomorrow. 

But for now, it is with great joy and overwhelming thankfulness to Almighty God, the maker of heaven and Earth: our healer, our protector, our provider, our shelter, our comforter, the only God worthy of all our praise...the one that we refer to in our home as our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God -

Just look what HE HAS DONE....


 Before taken on June 7th, 2011
After taken on June 2nd, 2012   
{the day before Dw and Emmy were leaving for Uganda this time around}
Look at her leg.  Last year, it was the same size as Dw's thumb.
Look at her now!
Look and see what Almighty God has done in one year!
How we praise HIS name!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tomorrow's Post

A blog friend, Emily, wrote to me asking if I could please start posting some Memorial Box Monday stories again.  I had taken a pause, as you all know.  Not because God's working in our lives had stopped for two reasons: I wondered if people were getting tired of them and I had also wondered if some think that these sweet things our family chronicles are things that only happen to our family.  As though we are in a special club that God blesses more than others.

Our family has definitely seen a beautiful share of miracles, yet, at the same time, if you have been hanging around our Place Called Simplicity any length of time, you will remember that in the last 4 years we have seen quite a remarkable share of struggles as well.

The thing about our lives in Christ, is that scripture reminds us that the rain does fall on the just and on the unjust alike.  We are definitely not exempt from trials, nor are we sheltered from difficult times.

But God is always faithful.

Always.

So we choose to rejoice in the struggles, take comfort in His faithfulness and record it all, so we can always remember.

I know I've mentioned it many times, but the most vivid time of the need for our Memorial Box reminders was three years ago.

We were living in the rental after losing our home to the fire.  Our Special Forc*s son had just returned from a depl*yment where he had nearly lost his life.  He had called his daddy and said, "I'm coming home for a leave and I am marrying Sarah.  I don't know how long I have here on this earth and I don't want to live without her.  We are getting married in two weeks."

The joy {coupled with the reality of what he had just shared} was enormous!

A wedding in two weeks!

Everyone arrived, a week of treasured memories was made.

The following day after their wedding {which was spectacular} Dw, Isaiah and Liberty and I left to drive to Iowa City.  The thing was that Dw was very sick.  He had returned from Africa only a couple of weeks before the wedding and had been unable to stay awake, sleeping continually or spending large amounts of time in the bathroom.  He looked horrible and was feeling worse than he even looked.  He had already lost about 15 lbs!

I sweetly told Dw I really didn't want him going to Iowa City with me as he had been so sick, and I just knew that caring for Isaiah with his imminent surgery would be difficult, let alone caring for a very sick husband a thousand miles from home.

As many of you know, Dw ended up at one end of the hospital and Isaiah on the other.  But before they knew what was wrong with Dw, they told that it was his liver.

I will never forget the panic and fear that swept over me as I read the text from Dw {who was in the ER} while I snuggled with my post-op little guy.  I knew how desperately sick Dw was and how much weight he had lost in just a few weeks.  If it was his liver, I couldn't think of anything it would be, but bad!

As the fear consumed my mind, just as instantly the small symbols in our Memorial Box {each symbol representing a story from our family that reminds us of the faithfulness of God} permeated my thoughts.  Symbol by symbol.   And immediately peace flooded my heart, my soul and my mind!

I will never forget that moment!

That is why our family tells the stories.  So we remember.  God told the Isrealites to build a memorial of stones and each time they saw them they were to tell their children, over and over and over.

I know how faithful God has been to me - since I was a little girl....but during tough times, it is easy to forget, in fact forgetting seems to be what we do best, isn't it?

As I pondered what my bloggy friend, Emily wrote to me when she asked me to bring back Memorial Box stories, the Lord reminded me that when I post Memorial Box stories, they are about HIM.   To shrink back would be to neglect an important element of my walk with Christ.  Because on a personal level, my Memorial Box is one of the most important things we have.  So, Emily, thank you for speaking up and encouraging me with your letter.  You were definitely used of the Lord in a mighty way!

So sweet friends, Memorial Box stories will be returning.  Probably twice a month.  We will have the ability to link your own stories.  In fact Emily said in her letter that she looks forward to reading others Memorial Box stories as well because all of them "are such a reminder to count God's faithfulness in our own lives.....God is ALWAYS moving, we just need eyes to see and ears to hear...."

BUT first, tomorrow I will share a Memorial Box story like none other: a very private story that only our family knows.  I have been praying for months {literally} about whether to share it or not and when to share it.  But it's time.   Because ALL honor and glory will be brought to the King of Kings.  He is ALWAYS faithful.  

There will not be a link up tomorrow though.   Tomorrow's story will stand alone due to the nature of it.  In two weeks, Lord willing, there will be another Memorial Box post and then we will have an opportunity to link to your posts as well.  

Please stop back tomorrow and read an intimate story, to our family, of our miraculous God.  Your heart will be encouraged and you will stand in amazement with us.  Faithful, faithful God.   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

To All You Single Moms

Many of you, my sweet bloggy friends, are single moms.

So many names instantly pop into my head, but I won't start naming any because I don't ever want to offend anyone for leaving them out.   But there's a friend who adopted two brothers out of foster care and it has been an extremely difficult road.  She is a woman of deep perseverance.  One of her sons got a sports scholarship to a school in Phoenix and we pray that we will finally be able to hug necks!

Others of you ended up by no doing of yours raising children alone.  Still others have chosen to adopt in your singleness.

One bloggy friend who was widowed.  She lives in Texas I believe.   She has several children and is adopting another.  She's amazing!

Another bloggy friend comes to mind.  She told me she used to live in Phoenix, but now lives on the East coast.  She just took in another foster child {and has several young ones at home}.

Today, I just have to pause and tell you all, from the bottom of my heart:  You guys are unbelievable.  What you do - day in and day out - wow!  You all totally rock!!

This single mom thing for me is just temporary....a few weeks here and a few weeks there as Dw and Emmy lead missions trips...but I gotta' say, you all are my personal heroes!!

I am so proud of each of you.

No doubt, some days are beyond imaginable and difficult for you.  Yet, by God's grace, you put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  Your strength and determination is noteworthy.  There has got to be a calm assurance that the Lord will see you through.

If I could, I would work my way through each of you and bring you flowers to show you my deep admiration for you...then I would take your treasures and give you a much needed rest.  Since I am unable, I do pray that those around you minister to your soul, bringing you blessings and encouragement while ministering to the treasures gifted to you.

May the Lord bless each of you for your courage, determination and kindness you show to your children day in and day out.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Time to Laugh

What would it be like if when God created us we weren't allowed to laugh?  

I have never thought of this before, but seriously, can you imagine?

As all eight kids were loaded into the car this morning, I was pondering what 
life would be like without any fun?  Because honestly friends, 
Almighty God was under no obligation when He created us
 to ever that He should 'have to' allow us to have any fun in our lives.  

We were climbing in the car to take
 to the roads and have some serious good times.

It wasn't expensive at all!  We were on a mission, which we accomplished for the moment.
In fact, you know the fact of the matter is that 
the most memorable times ever are the ones we spend together just being family.  

Talking, acting silly, talking serious or laughing about things that most everyone
 else wouldn't probably understand.  

Something happened then in the car that suddenly things got kind of tense. 
 I could feel it instantly.  And the Lord reminded me that it was time to
 thank Him and praise Him.  So we played our good ol' thankful game:  
going around the car, one by one and each naming five things we are each thankful for.  

Even the little ones amaze me.  

Some of the littlest ones said, 
"That I have a mom and dad who love me. That we have a home. 
 That I have brothers and sisters. Etc."  

And as the game finished the tense atmosphere was gone, replaced by
 a renewed ability to laugh and talk and enjoy each other.

Don't let today pass without laughing.  

Life is too short to be grumpy and complain. 

 Make memories. 

 Tell those around you how much you love them.  

The flowering bush outside our front door...spectacular gift from the Lord!

A sweet bloggy friend lost her brother the other day in a terrible accident, 
doing what he loved most.  She posted a video to her Facebook of 
her brother laughing.  Although I did not know her brother, it made me laugh and cry...
thankful she has the memories and to hear his precious laugh
 as he played with her baby boy.  

Enjoy today.  

Make memories.

Ignore {or at least minimize} the stupid stuff. 

Because each day is a wonderful gift from the Lord.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Still Giggling

In the midst of life happening, it's good to laugh.

Just the giggle outloud that makes your family turn and say, "What is sooo funny?"

Well I saw this today and have not stopped giggling.

I only ever tried this product once.
and well this little picture echoes my sentiments exactly.

I thought some of you might enjoy it too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday's Report

I keep forgetting to mention that Dw is updating {as often as possible} the International Voice of the Orphan blog with stories from Uganda.

For the last two days the team has been working on the basketball court for the orphan street boys now living in a home.  Many of you made that possible - thank you, thank you, thank you!  You can go to the IVO blog to see the work on the basketball court {that will be in the jungle} starting....{Wondering just how many basketball courts there are in the jungles around the world?}

Craig, one of the members of the team, shared this with me on Facebook.  Thought you would love to see it!

And the backpacks?  Oh me.  Oh my.  The boys LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the backpacks!

Today while working the team had an eventful time...but I will save that story for them to share.  Probably Emma will share it soon.  Emmy's blog can be found here. 

They are working hard to get a video of some boys receiving Christ.  The internet there is so slooooow.  We'll see if we can get it uploaded though.

Some of the June 2012 GO Team

An amazing time going on over there in Uganda...thank you for all your prayers - don't stop!  Tomorrow is the Pastor's Legacy Leadership Conference, which means we need lots of prayer!

And over here in Phoenix Ruby has had a stomach virus passed on from Graham {so thoughtful to share!}.  We are holding down the fort and praying they don't share it with everyone else!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

That Was Pretty Fun

I admit I can't always leave replies on your comments, time just won't permit me, but yesterday - well that was just plain fun.  Usually I can't because some days my chores just don't seem to end or they end abruptly with me sitting down for a minute and instantly falling sound asleep.

Some evenings the kids will actually wake me up and say, "Go to bed mom!"  And every once in a while I fall asleep during family Bible study {late morning or afternoon}.  My kids have been known to get up and get the camera and take awful photos of me with my mouth gaping {threatening to post them on the blog or Facebook}...I usually have woken up because they are laughing so hard...how mean is that?

Occasionally when the kids have found a movie that they really, really want me to watch {like Courageous - that movie was awesome just in case you haven't seen it}...I stood and folded clothes to make sure I stayed awake.  I didn't sit down at all, not even for a second, cause we all knew what would happen if I sat my weary bee-hind down for even a snippet.  

So, like I was saying, it was really fun to be able to leave some return replies to you all.  I guess that's a perk of the big guy being in Africa with the team.  Not so many evening responsibilities to tend to...

Today we've actually had kind of a 'lazy day', working on home schooling {some will do it through the summer months} and swimming in the pool.  So very thankful this rental has one.

Are all you home schoolers done for the summer?  Many of you do it year round?  We don't normally do it year round, but this year has kind of necessitated it.   May even become a year rounder after this.  Who knows.

Some how it almost sounds fun to do it that way.  And by the way, next year will be my 25th year home schooling.  I'm thinking there ought to be some sort of honorary something for that.  Like at a company, don't ya' get a gold pin or something?  Although as I type that, I giggle.  A gold pin?  Big deal.  Keep the pin.  Let me maybe just have a day of a cleaning service.

Now that sounds awesome {and actually probably cheaper than the gold pin}!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Admit, I Did Say it Rather Loudly on Purpose

With Dw and Emma leading the team in Uganda and Savannah and Graham
 at worship practice, ol' Mother Hubbard headed to the grocery store 
to fill her cupboards with six of the cutest little treasures in tow.

Elizabeth kept saying, "Mom, we look like a train, don't we?"

"Yes, girly-girl, a train indeed."

They took turns pushing Ruby in the stroller, 
took turns pushing the cart{s}
and all helped gather the items we needed.

Someone at one point commented on just how great they were behaving.

But I confess, I'm definitely not fast at anything I do.  
Never have been.  
But slower than I used to be.
So although we started out in the afternoon, it quickly turned to dinnertime.

And the store began to get crowded.

Really crowded.

We did the best we could keeping our cart{s}, 
stroller and bodies to the sides of each aisle,
but it was basically impossible to stay out of the way entirely.

I mean, think about it, we are a small mob.

All of a sudden I noticed that many were giving
 us grumpy, annoyed looks.

You know the kind, dontcha?

The ones with the lips pursed,
the eyebrows all pointified,
and the wrinkles scrunched to the point of the
very real 
possibility of stickin' permanently that way
{at least that's what my grandmother used to tell me}.

How is it that people seem to forget that they were young once too?

And although I am extremely laid back 
I could feel myself getting tense.
I don't like to make people upset.
And I really, really don't like them to be annoyed by my kids
or the sheer number of our boatload of treasures and 
besides,
the kids weren't doing anything naughty at all.
They were truly helping - every one of them
{well except obviously for Ruby who was just being her usual adorable self}.

Sooooo I decided to alleviate the mean looks,
at least as best as possible on my end.

While looking at my kids, 
I just started saying 
{rather loudly over and over and over again}- 
"Wow guys - You are all absolutely a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
Thank you for being such good helpers.
I love you all so much!
Thank you, thank you, thank you."


  No one said anything!
How could they?
I was clearly showing my approval
and delight at their hard work helping!
I  also decided it best not to look up to see if there 
were anymore grumpy looks either.  

Eventually we headed home.
Kids helping and having fun the whole time.

Team Report:  

Every one helped carry all of the bazillion bags in.
Every one helped put all the groceries away.
Pantry full.
Refrigerator door kind of hard to hold shut. 

It honestly was complete in no time! 
Kids feeling like they were part of a successful project.
Ice cream for every one for dessert.
Followed with swimming in the pool out back. 
I could actually say it was really, really fun!
Mommy smiling.
 Mission accomplished.

{Hopefully those grumpy ol' people even reconsidered their grumpy thoughts
as they heard this Mom of Many give honest appreciation to her precious treasures.}