Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Precious Surprise from the Lord


The story we're about to tell is bittersweet.
There is pain, heartache and brokenness.  
Yet, because of God's great mercy and abundant grace,
 there will be healing, restoration and continual evidence of His faithfulness.

We thank you, ahead of time, for praying for all of us in this journey.

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4


Isn't it a beautiful moment when God gently surprises us?

When, literally, life changes overnight?

I don't know how many of you remember, but way back in November 2005,
the Lord gave me a prophetic word:

"Linny, the best years of your life are ahead of you."

It was so right-on...since I had been whispering to the Lord for months that
I felt like my best years were behind me.  I
 had been secretly grieving growing old.
And in an instant, that powerful word from Him revived me.

It was so clearly Him, because, although He had heard my cries,
He was the only one who had heard my groanings,
"I feel like the best years of my life are behind me."

When He spoke the exact words I had been moaning for weeks in my
confiding time with Him, I knew that I knew that I knew that I knew
 it was a promise I could "take to the bank".

And after He spoke that prophetic word to me, immediately I responded,
"Well that must mean that there will be more treasures
because that's all I've ever wanted."

Since that prophetic word, we had added five kiddos.


Now that Ruby is home and thriving,
I have been whispering a few new things to the Lord.
And soon, I will share some of that, but for now,
I will keep this rather vague, for several reasons.

Anyway, two days after returning from our 6,200+ mile road trip,
Dw and I went to grab some coffee and talk.
In a few days we would be leaving for Colorado for Autumn and Karl's wedding,
we just really needed to catch up.

So there we were snuggled up on one side of the booth at
the Paradise Bakery near our home,
when a text message buzzed in.

It was from Emma.

It contained 29 words alerting us to a need she had just heard of.
A painful situation to be sure.

A little one who had been brought home internationally a few months prior,
was needing to be "resettled" in another family.

I read the text aloud to Dw.

He turned to me and quietly responded,

"Maybe we could help."

My heart leapt.

Over the next few days, we inquired if we were needed in any way.

We even asked if we could do some respite while the family
spent some time regrouping.
{That was not an option.}

As it turns out there have been many God-appointments in this journey.
Privacy warrants we protect all involved.

But I can assure you of this:
We have been so thankful for the Lord's clear direction and quiet reassurance.

The day after returning from Autumn's wedding we met this little treasure.

I asked the Lord to show me the second I saw him in person.
As he walked through our front door, my eyes welled with tears.

I knew.

He was ours.

Tucked away by Almighty God for our family.

We are convinced {as is the adoptive family who brought him home}
that the Lord used them to bring him 'home' to the States,
because ultimately His plan for him was to be with our family.
{And of course, they will always love him very much.}

Just a week ago today I tweeted,

"Enormous situation ahead. 
Changes imminent. 
Prayers for wisdom, peace, and grace needed now."

{*thank you to all who pray when I tweet,
it makes such a difference to my heart to know so many
of you were praying*}

That tweet was sent when we were going to get our new son and the agency would officially
transfer him to our care.  So, believe it or not, he has already been home for a week.

Disruption in adoption is a painful thing for all.
Some of you have been involved on one end or the other in a disruption.
There is no judgment here.
God promises to use all things to work together for good.

Our new son is slowly adjusting to life in our family.

He is also grieving {which is a good thing}.
We need him to grieve.

The kids have welcomed him with open arms.
Every one of them is thrilled to have a new brother.  

We are so thankful that the
Lord brought the need to Emma's attention, which prompted a series of
 events that led to him coming home forever.

For those who knew it was a were right!
although who would have guessed that he would already be home for a week?

A beautiful surprise from the Lord!!!

We are updating our home study and before long all the legalities
will be completed.

Pictures and all other information will be coming soon.

But for now, please pray for our little guy's heart as he adjusts to so many changes.
He is not really speaking English yet and we're really not sure how much he understands.

We are convinced that as much as he needed us, 
we, too, needed him.

I can't wait for his picture to be up on the header for the whole world to see.
Rejoice with us - the Saunders Family has another son
and we couldn't be more over-joyed!

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans, even daily, by sending people across our path with their...requests.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

{Pause} "3"

Okay, so I realize we are in the midst of the "big reveal" but
I have to pause for one little moment
{or two}
to tell everyone....

I was talking to my treasured friend Kathi the other night.

Kathi said, 

"Hey, did you see you are about to go over 3,000,000 visits?"  

Oooopsie.   I hadn't noticed the Sitemeter number creeping up to the 3 million mark.

Humbled and overjoyed, but always matter how we look at it, we're about to go over the "3" mark...

So you who've been hanging around our Place Called Simplicity know the routine, but for those who don't.....Please take a picture with your cell {or camera} of the SiteMeter on your computer screen, if you happen to be the one who is the 3,000,000 hit.

Then email the SiteMeter 3,000,000 picture AND a picture of yourself to:

Please put in the subject, "3,000,000 visit"
{For you health conscious folks, please note that I
 included a picture of something "3" and healthy.
They're probably even organic.  Of course they are.}

The first person to email me with BOTH pictures {you and the 3,000,000 site meter}
will be featured in a post and receive a tiny little gift from me.

So keep an eye on that SiteMeter, cause this is gonna' be crazy fun....

Thursday, August 30, 2012


My sweet friend Charlynn 
{who went to Africa when Emma and I led the team in April of 2011}
 posted on my Facebook wall to tell everyone "more"

You can thank Charlynn for her suggestion,

and to oblige her...

here's some "more" of the story:

When that text message came in just 2 weeks ago,
and I read it aloud to Dw, 
he instantly said,
"Maybe we could help"...

Because when we told HIM we would do A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

{no matter what He asked of us}

We meant it...

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans, even daily, by sending people across our path with their ....requests. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Text Message















So Much for That Idea...

Living in Phoenix I have been trying to think of creative ways for the kids to burn some energy in this heat {besides the pool}.  So last night I had everyone get their clothes, sneakers and socks ready to scoot out the door bright and early for a hike to the neighborhood park.

Ruby must have thought the excursion to the park sounded like a blast, cause she was up {for the day} just before 4:00am today.

The kids were up at 6 something and we were out the door not long after 7:30am.   It was cool and comfortable.  {Okay, maybe not truly 'cool' but in comparison to the 108 degrees yesterday, 87 was pretty dang frigid.}

The neighborhood park is on the route that Liberty and I take each morning we walk together.  Today as the kids and I approached the park I got stung.  Some teeny-tiny variety of the mosquito, but no matter the size, it had a nasty bite!

Before long, they were swarming us.  What the heck?  Liberty and I have taken this walk many, many times and never experienced one stinkin' bite.

We decided to persevere.

So did the mosquitos.

Stupid persistent things.

The kids climbed all over the climby thing in between swatting the mean little varmints.

About that time I sat to feed Ruby and a little girl came by carrying a trumpet.  She said, "What is this a kid convention?" I smile and responded, "No, just my kids."

She put her trumpet case down on the table nearby and decided to serenade us.  I'm guessing she picked up the trumpet from the school band office yesterday for the very first time from the noise song she played.  Bless her heart, everyone has to start somewhere.

Then she stopped loudly screeching playing and turning to me said, "Wait!  Are you their grandmother or their mother?"

I laughed.

I wanted to say, "Listen kid.  This silver hair is my version of head bling.  I've earned it and I wear it proudly.  If it came in a box, the color would be named after some of my older children.  But no matter the color of my hair, they are, indeed, all mine."   

What I actually said {with a pleasant giggle}: "Yes, they are my children and no, I am not their grandma."

I then asked her about her school.  She was a really sweet little girl and probably will someday be famous for trumpet playing.

About that time a certain group of brothers {who shall remain anonymous} decided that a portion of the climby thingy was theirs and I found a sister {who shall remain anonymous} pouting in the shade nearby {and getting eaten alive by the mosquitos who thought she tasted delicious}.

My early morning fairy-tale trip to the park with all my cherubs was not turning out quite like I had rosily envisioned last night.

Deciding to cut our losses and head home Jubilee fell hard and got a lovely abrasion on her knee.

I was able to distract her enough to appease the tears, until she fell squarely on the exact same knee and this time the blood was running down her leg.

I've decided I think we'll try the fairy-tale trip to the park again sometime,

Like in about 12 years......

Monday, August 27, 2012

$12.32 Total for All Three

When Dw resigned from senior pastoring to move to Phoenix for Ruby's medical needs, we knew that God would faithfully provide.   The Lord had gone before us in such a mighty way to know that it was finally time to launch International Voice of the Orphan.  He will faithfully provide for each of our needs while we devote our days to responding to the needs of the orphan.

Recently a friend wrote to me and asked if I would share what it is like to live without an income, but relying on God to meet our needs instead.  I took that to heart and thought I would share this faith road one day.

As I was pondering and praying about telling this story, I realized that it is part of the 'faith walk' journey Dw, the kids and I are on and made me even more excited to share it.

God's word says that without faith it is impossible to please Him.  {Heb. 11:6}  When we are able to figure everything out, it's not faith.  Faith is trusting Him when we can't figure a thing out.  Faith is knowing He will provide.

I think the tricky part comes in when we have a need and we actually can 'fix' the situation.  So in our humanness we run out and 'fix' the need.  But faith says, "I will rest, trust that you are figuring it out and I will then see your mighty hand work."

Memorial Box Monday stories are the stories of God's faithfulness in our lives.  They are a collection of reminders of God's faithful provision, protection and providence.  Some people think that miracles are a joke and there is no God.

Our lives beg to differ!!!

Almighty God has done "above and beyond all we could think or ask" over and over and over and over.  His acts of power in our lives defy any human reasoning.  He is working on our behalf every single day, without exception.

So why should we be surprised when He does something extraordinary?

We shouldn't.

This story is fresh.  And it's a giggly, kind of fun story.

Autumn had asked each of her siblings to be in the wedding.   Having the bulk of that request still living at home, we knew that God would have to do some mighty beautiful things in order for it to all work out in an affordable way.

When our two oldest daughters {Abi and Autumn} were getting married, we said that we would pay for their wedding gowns {within modest reason}.   The girls paid for their own weddings apart from their gowns.

So for Autumn's wedding, when it was time to buy wedding attire for the siblings who would all be in it we were doing a lot of praying.  "Lord would you provide flower girls dresses for Elizabeth, Jubilee and Ruby?"  Emma looked around some on the web.  There were some very pretty dresses, indeed, with a pretty price tag as well.

We prayed together as a family.

Weeks passed, which turned into months.  We kept praying.  We weren't frantic, we knew He would do something big.

And about a month before the wedding, Emma had taken a couple of the the kids to the local Goodwill store near our home.  We had looked around thrift stores several times, knowing that it would only be the Lord who would provide matching wedding dresses that would be perfect for this very special celebration.

So this particular day, as Emma was searching one side of the rack, Isaiah was also looking on the other side.  Suddenly Isaiah said, "Hey Emma, look at these!"

And there they were.  Two matching dresses, very similar in style to Autumn's wedding gown, in the exact sizes Jubilee and Elizabeth needed.

And the icing on the cake?

They were 1/2 off that day.

Elizabeth and Jubilee's dresses which had been $8.00 were now only $4.00 each.

When the kids brought them home they were giddy.

{Don't you love when kids walk in faith and see God provide in supernatural ways after having time spent praying for the answer?}

We nearly threw a party we were so excited.

$4.00 each.

We still needed a dress for Ruby.

It was fine with Autumn that it didn't match perfectly.  Ruby would be riding in here own little chariot.  Of course she would, she's a regal princess, child of the King!

So whenever we were out we would look around, but I wasn't sweating it.  If the Lord had provided that miraculously for Elizabeth and Jubilee, He surely had Ruby's dress covered as well.

Two days before leaving Arizona for Autumn's wedding in Colorado we went to a different local thrift store.  We hadn't been there in awhile and I needed to find a port-a-crib for Finn's visit.  And as I walked by an end cap, there it was.

A beautiful princess dress for Ruby!

Which 'happened' to be 1/2 off as well.

It was $4.32.

Can you believe it?

The three flower girl dresses were total $12.32 {+ tax} and they were stunningly beautiful at that!

Just because He loves to provide in supernatural ways.

We could have rushed out and found flower girl dresses for upwards of $80.00 each.  Making a total of over $200.00.  Instead we prayed, we waited, we trusted and we watched and sure enough, in keeping with His miraculous nature, He provided three dresses stunning perfectly done for $12.32.

He is always faithful.

He provides in miraculous ways.

What about you?

I know He's done the same for you. Provided, protected, shown up in gigantic ways?

For today's story of the flower girl dresses, I will be putting a photo of the wedding in our Memorial Box to remind ourselves of His $12.32 provision.

Please link your Memorial Box Monday stories below and link back here too!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Type. Backspace. Type. Backspace.

I have seriously started this post so many times I lost count.

Type a few words.



Back space.

Start from a different angle.


Type a few sentences.


Lean my head one way.

Think a whole bunch.

Then lean it the other.

Think some more.

Back space.

Can I just say that it is really hard to write about chit-chat when so much is on my heart and my mind is so pre-occupied?

Suffice it to say, that I think the best thing for tomorrow would be a Memorial Box Monday post.  I will {Lord willing} have a linky too.  So if you have a Memorial Box Monday story, please consider linking it up, I would love to read each of yours as well as many others who read the links.  

Thank you each who have tweeted/texted/emailed that you are praying for us.

We can tell you are praying and you are each such a blessing to our family.    xo

Friday, August 24, 2012

"You're the One I've Been Looking For"

When walking through difficult seasons, it seems that often the Lord sends worship music to minister to my soul.

Graham has had the opportunity to play with Frontline Worship Band...and the lead singer {Nina} wrote a worship song which has become my personal favorite.   I play it over and over and over and over...

Here are the lyrics:

"I Call You Jesus"
by Nina Poole & Frontline Worship

I will be the one who worships all of my attention
I wanna be the one You're looking for
If You're looking for someone to love You
Know my heart is with You
I wanna be the one You're looking for

When we're finally face to face
All I wanna hear You say
is I've been the one You're looking for

'Cause I Call You Jesus
You're every answer
There's no confusion about who You are to me
And I lift my hands to tell what my heart says
A Love that goes deeper
Not a word can explain


This song puts into words my heart's cry:

I want to be the one He's looking for.

Isn't that what we are here on Earth for?  To worship Him with our lives.  Our attention.  Our entire being.  Our days.  Our time.  Our resources.  All of it devoted to Him and Him alone.

The lyrics and the music to this song are so powerful that almost every time I listen to it, I weep.  Weep.  Truly weep.

There is something about the thought of standing before the King of Kings someday and having Him say, "You're the one I've been looking for."

Can you seriously imagine?

After listening to this song my heart envisions entering heaven and seeing my King face to face and He stares at me in the eye and says, "You're the one I've been looking for!"  My eyes well with tears, sweet friend, can you imagine?

Scripture tells us that He is looking for those who are earnestly seeking Him {Hebrews 11:6}.  We cannot half-heartedly seek.   He must have our full devotion.  Casual will not do.  Half-hearted is not enough.   Almost all is still not enough.

We must be pursuing Him with a tenacity that requires our full attention.   When we are seeking Him, and Him alone, we are willing to do what would have once seemed impossible.

So what does "seeking" Him mean?  Seeking Him is encompassed in worshipful obedience.

Whatever He asks. 

No matter what. 

And when we decide to obey, He willingly gives us the grace, the strength, the courage and the commitment.

Ultimately it's really only about Him.

The authentic version is on iTunes, "I Call You Jesus" by Frontline Worship linked here.   If you are an iTunes shopper, I urge you to listen to it.  It is seriously, my most favorite worship song of all time.

God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible –
what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.
 ~ AW Tozer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Couple of Questions for You

Here we are getting ready to gear up and start school...

I just stopped to count.  I guess this we will be starting my 25th year of teaching the kids at home.  Whew.  I think I'll go take a nap at the thought.  

We are trying to rearrange some furniture to make more of a home schooling room that I think will work better than anything we have had in a long time.   Or at least that's my dream.

Switching tables, chairs, deacon bench...

That is one thing about moving into a new home....shelves or cupboards or something that will work to help organize the chaos for everyone and all the grades.  Dw and Graham had built some beautiful shelves with cupboard bottoms in the study in Durango.   They were beautiful {too bad we couldn't bring them with.}  So now I'm looking around and trying to imagine what will work here.

You guys know what I mean.

And I'm also wondering.....

How many of you have started back to school?

Whether your kids home school or go to private or public school, have they started yet?

Any fun first day of school traditions {no matter if they school at home or outside}?
And our tradition has always been to celebrate with donuts on the first day.  {Almost motivation enough to start tomorrow - haha}.

Are your kids looking forward to starting school?   {Most of mine are super excited.}

Share some of your fun traditions because I want to incorporate some of your ideas into our day because I'm thinking we need another new fun idea to make it a really anticipated day by mom {*smile*} and treasures.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A few months ago Abi called asking if we would be willing to babysit Finley after Autumn's wedding for a week while they went on a 30th birthday adventure/vacation in central America.

Ummm, let me think about it.


We are elated to have our little treasure-grandson with us.

Mimi was playing with Finn this morning and he was laughing and laughing and so was Mimi.

Jaja loves snuggling and wrestling with him.

As far as Finn goes:

Finn adores the kids.  

Finn loves playing in the pool.

And Finn loves pizza.

He blends right in.

So grateful for this privilege.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Autumn and Karl's Wedding in Pictures

The bride was beside herself with joy
{Autumn has wanted to get married since she could barely talk...
to think how close this day came to not happening
just one year, one month and one day before...}
For those who have not read the story of God's miracles in sparing Karl's life,
it can be found on the header under "Life" at "Our Holy Ground"...
there are three parts to the story which can be found on that page...
If you are a doubter of God or His miracles,
trust me, you will see that God is very real and He is still in the 
miracle working business...
even on rural roads at 9:40 on a Sunday morning...
{Yes, those would be hot pink cowboy boots}

I have been to many weddings in my 53 years and
I am always curious as to how 
the bride and groom's facial expressions will be
as the bride walks down the aisle.

Karl cried as she came down the aisle and Autumn was crying too.
I think everyone was.

There is something so powerful
about the love felt between Autumn and Karl.
authentic and raw,
no doubt, much of it due to realizing how close this was to never happening -
Only by the grace and healing power of Almighty God.

Overflowing emotion....

The wedding was held at Williams Lake Reservoir and it was 
about 45 minutes down a dirt road.  

The scenery on the road to Williams Lake is spectacular as the road winds up the mountains.
But once you get to the lake, the view is completely breathtaking...
it is at 11,600 ft elevation...
we were waaaaay up there!

One day when Karl was about 8 he was camping with his family 
and he said, "Someday I'm going to get married here."
Little did Karl know that was a very prophetic word.

During the wedding, they played the song, 
"Angels among us"
...and everyone lost it...
had it not been for four WILLING individuals
who instead of worrying about what they were on their way to do,
chose to be 'inconvenienced', 
opting to be God's hands and feet to minister to Karl's lifeless body...
{Liz the ER nurse on her way to the only shift the entire month, 
Denise the former EMT, 
 the anesthesiologist from Texas,
our personal friend and neurologist 
visiting for the week-end from Phoenix}

we would not have our precious Karl today....
and that thought was ever present the entire day!

On Graham's arm is the ER nurse: Liz 
{who recognized Karl's tattoo and started the chain of 
events that ultimately spared his life}

The cake made by our precious friend Jessica {who I have to say, 
she and her husband Sean just got the referral for the most darling 
little boy from Ch*na - how fun is that?}   
The topper was a moose figurine Dw and I had found while Karl was in ICU
...a male and female moose...snuggled together...
and his nickname has always been "Moose"...}

Karl adores Ruby and had a special dance with her...

And Ruby loves him so much...
{Autumn and Graham dancing in the background}


All praise, honor and glory go to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - 
He ALONE is worthy of praise - 
Yippee Jesus
Karl and Autumn are married!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

For All Who Prayed {and Fasted}

We are paused in Flagstaff on the way home to Phoenix.  

Most of the trip there is not cell coverage, so this is all I could upload for the moment.

But I knew you'd be waiting and good gracious I could NOT wait to show you.

May I present to you:

Mr. & Mrs. Karl Hujus

{Aren't they precious?}

You, bloggy friends, are THE best!!

Thank you FOREVER

from the bottom of  our hearts.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gettin' Ready

Yesterday was such a wonderfully fun day.

The kind you just hate to see end.

But today, promises to be the best yet!

I kept starting to cry yesterday when I would have a flash of Autumn's hysterical phone call, the medflight chopper landing as Emma and I pulled in to the hospital parking lot...Autumn's crumpled form sobbing as we waited for Karl to be brought off the helicopter...the color of Karl's skin as they wheeled his unconscious body past us...the days in the coma...the ICU waiting room...
and here he was:

whole, smiling, talking, laughing, hugging....

see for yourself....

so handsome...

so alive....

so in love....

The miracle groom

{All praise, honor and glory go to Jesus Christ, the healer}

Abigail and Autumn
making the flower arrangements

getting the reception hall ready

pulling petals from the wild flowers for the aisle

{Karl's brother Ryan - best man
Emma - maid of honor}

Three Handsome Ring Bearers
{Autumn had shirts made for them for the rehearsal}

Three gorgeous little flower girls

Now on to the REAL THING

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Their Shop

Isn't it crazy how no matter the age, life repeats itself?

Your kids and mine, the big ones once little,
the present littles and any future littles at one time or other,
go through a season of "sales".

In fact we have been laughing reminiscing with the bride-to-be and Molly about 
some of the things they did when they were little.

Once upon a time, when they were about eight years old they set up shop.  
Emma was their 'go girl' and they promised she could play with them 
IF she would go in lake and dive to the bottom and find the prettiest stones.  

Emma, wanting to be included, obliged.  Only each time she would get back with some,
 they would demand her to go get more 
{Bless their hearts.}   

Little did we realize what they were doing, until Mary, Molly's mom and 
I realized that Molly and Autumn were missing.  And when we went looking 
we found that they had set up a stand where folks passing by could buy a rock.  
Only these girls were not the "if" you want to buy type girls.

They had set their shop up in the middle of the lane that each cottage owner
 had to drive on to get to their property.  And what they were telling the folks was,
 "If you want to pass, you have to buy a rock."  

We have gotten some good chuckles at what these two did together! 

Well, yesterday, Elizabeth, Elijah, Isaiah and Elizabeth gathered shells, 
pine cones and flowers and set up shop.  Anyone who stopped over 
{and there were bunches} were quizzed:

"How much money do you have?   You can buy xx number for that much."  
{Not that their math was entirely accurate, mind you.} 

But yes, the store owner's faces may change, but it appears there will always be a store, no matter.
Guess it's a good thing cause I really needed a wedding gift for the happy couple.
Bet Karl and Autumn will be thrilled.