Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nastya

Tonight I am advocating for a 16 year old girl in Ukraine who would love to be loved by a family.

That's all she wants.

To be loved.

By a family.

Perhaps together we could find a family for Nastya?


Here is the interview:


Nastya is a shy and quiet girl. During the interview it took many questions to get some information. At the present, she is in her first year at college; she studies to be a typist. Math is hard for her and she does not like it at all. Biology, on the other hand, she likes very much. Her hobbies are singing and drawing. She is a very talented girl with a beautiful voice.

When asked about her childhood and about her life with family, she said she lived with her parents, who were not married, but just living together. Her dad died when she was 9, and then her mom died when she was 10, both from tuberculosis. When Nastya was 7, her mother had beaten her so hard that Nastya had very bad brain injury which apparently caused epilepsy. She began having seizures every day. When she was moved to the orphanage, the doctors tried to help her with medication, but it did not really help. 2 years ago she had seizures 5 days a week, but last year doctors gave her new medicine which has helped her. Her last seizure was in December 2011.

6 months ago she found out that she has older brother who is 26; he has a family. They talk on the phone sometimes, but that's all. Her younger brother (age 7) was adopted by a Ukrainian family, who also wanted to adopt her, but she said no. She did not feel confident about the adoption. The reason, she says, is that the family already had so many children. She is in touch with her little brother all the time. Later, several families wanted to adopt her, but the director of the orphanage did not recommend her to the families because of her severe epilepsy.

She says that earlier she had not thought about adoption, but now a trusted friend has convinced her that it would be better for her and her future life, so she said that she wants to be adopted and move to the US.

When asked what kind of family she wants to have, she said its hard to imagine any details about the family, whether they are young or old , have kids or no kids. She said one thing that is really important for her is that if a family adopts her, they really love her and care about her very much. She worries that she will be adopted, move to the USA, but have no attention, love and care. She really wants to have a family who really LOVES her. 

 The only way Nastya can be adopted is if we find a family already in the process. They need to have applied to Immigration before May 21 (which was Natsya's 16th birthday), then they need to have a date to go to Ukraine within 6 months of their immigration approval date. That is why the window of opportunity is so slim. 

For more information, please email:   thejoyoftom@gmail.com

Her time is running out.  Together, let's pray that Nastya's family finds her.  


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." --Ephesians 3:21 

Taunting Mommy

Friday night was an especially sweet all around memory-making night.

After dinner, the little ones were being exceptionally rowdy.  There is a long hall, with a tile floor, leading off the kitchen to the three kids bedrooms.   They have enjoyed racing down that hallway quite a few times. Sliding.  Racing.  Screaming.  Giggling.

This particular night they were screaming louder than loud {or maybe it was just me} and giggling ferociously.  Elizabeth was the ring leader and Jubilee, Nehemiah, Isaiah and Elijah were all joining in the festivities.

When my ears could no longer take it, I said, "Okay, okay, okay.  You are welcome to race.  You are welcome to scream while you race, BUT if you do scream, know that I may just pick you up and toss you in the pool."

They giggled even louder and took off running down the hall screaming louder still.

Taunting mommy.

Wondering:  Would Mommy really do such a thing?

With daddy's help, one by one, they were tossed in the dark into the pool:

Soon Liberty and Emma jumped in in their clothes,
as did daddy.



And the giggling continued...


Eventually Emma formed a train and around and around they went....laughing, giggling and screaming still.

Big brother, who had just gotten home from a long, long day of work, opted to snuggle with Rubylicious while the impromptu party was happening in the pool.  
{Miss Ruby thinks her big brother is pretty spectacular.}


After the tossing-in-the-pool event, the three big kids went out together to a coffee shop and Dw and I tucked in all the littles....and then Dw and I started making the salsa {Liberty and Emma had helped me cut it all up earlier in the week}.

The house finally quiet, Dw and I worked to cook, can and process 7 quarts and 8 pints of pretty hot and yummy salsa.   Dw and I completed the canning about 1:00am and collapsed into bed.

I used to can all kinds of goodies each year.  But since losing our home to the fire I had not canned anything at all.  

I was almost giddy being back at it again after such a long respite.  

Anyone else out there love to can produce?
What do you can?

Friday, September 28, 2012

He's NOT a Deadbeat Dad {Part 2}


I was up just after 4am today.   The first thought on my mind was, "Oh Lord, I need to write Part 2, so please whisper your thoughts to me."  I got my Bible out and dug in.  And do you know what He did?  He spoke so clearly what to write for part 2 and part 3, I was stinkin' giddy.

Seriously friends, isn't is amazingly mind-boggling that the God of the entire universe wants to intimately whisper {Psalm 25:14} to each one of us right where we are?  I truly can't get my head around it, so I pretty much just revel in His majesty and let Him whisper away....and then I always throw a little party each time I hear His whispers because it is the most spectacular thing {personally} in my life.   

First off, let me say, that many of you are in the midst of the adoption process and have found the going rough, especially financially.  Others long to begin the adoption process but the question looms in your mind:  How would we ever have enough money to bring one treasure{or more} home?  

If I were able, I would love to sit and have coffee with anyone who is in the adoption process and has found the going rough, so I could encourage your heart with the truths of God's word. 



For those who long to adopt, but the money aspect makes adoption seem out-of-reach and frankly scares the hooey out of you, well, I would love to have coffee with you also. I would share our stories of God's provision and how we have brought our last six treasures home while Dw was a senior pastor and our most recent while serving {by faith and no real paycheck} International Voice of the Orphan.    

Because friends, I cannot implore you enough to understand - 

His heart is for the orphan and when anyone purposes in their heart to bring a treasure home, He will provide, above and beyond anything you can think or ask, to accomplish His plan for that little orphan treasure.  

Let me ask you....hypothetically speaking {and truly ONLY hypothetically speaking} if I were alone with you and I were to say, "We believe the Lord wants us to bring home a sibling group of 5 from who-knows-where but I am scared about the finances...."  

What would you say?

I know that almost every single one of my bloggy friends would say, "Do it!!  He WILL provide!"  And, no doubt, you would mean it with all your heart.

So why is it that when you look at your OWN situation, your faith waivers?  

Because we have such great faith for someone else, don't we?  But it is hard to "see the trees for the forest" when we are looking at our own situation.  

Yet, God doesn't change.  He doesn't change ever.  His promises are true for me.  And His promise are true for you.  

It doesn't matter who, where, what, why, when....
if He is directing...
He's got it covered.   

His word does not change and in Him "there are no exceptions."  

Somehow we think that He only has enough money for 'her' or "their adoption" or "that person over there"...yet

His promises never fail.

In fact scripture says, 
"He owns the cattle on a thousand hills"
 Psalm 50:10



I have often joked, "His word says He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He might just have to sell the whole herd for this situation, but He can and will if need be!"

Do you get it friends?  

He has it all.   

He owns every single resource available.

He is not limited to 453 adoptions in the world and you happen to be the 454 person/family adopting.  

Not a chance!

His wealth is limitless!!  

It knows no bounds!

But HOW Linny?  

How do we raise enough money to afford to adopt?  

Where do we start??

And that is precisely what we will answer tomorrow.  

Cause I have a secret He wants me to tell you.  

The secret is for all of you in the midst of adopting and those thinking about adopting.

Next:  He's NOT a Deadbeat Dad {Part 3}. 
                    aka:  How's He Gonna' Do It? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

He is NOT a Deadbeat Dad {Part 1}

Over the years I have had literally hundreds of emails from families who want to adopt, but find themselves worried, fearful and immobilized by the financial end of it all.

Friends, listen up!

In the last 28+ years {since we began adopting}, we have NOT met one person/couple/family who found a treasure, began that treasure's adoption yet had to bring it to a halt because they couldn't provide the resources to bring that treasure home.  We've not met ONE.

However, on the other hand, in the same 28+ years, I think I can remember two people who had the full amount for an adoption in hand before they began their adoption and each of them had received an inheritance and used their inheritance to bring a treasure home.  What an inheritance they received, right?  Worth far more than any monetary value!

That being said, let's figure this whole thing out.

How can we possibly pay for an adoption when there is no "left over" at the end of the month?



Here's some thoughts on it all...

Our lives are not our own.

We were put on this earth to love God and serve others.

In fact we show our love for Him by serving others.

Period.

God's word tells us in James 1:27 that "Pure religion is to care for the orphan and widow."

Friends that's all it says.  It does not say, "Pure religion is to be a pastor, be a Bible study leader, be a worship leader or be a women's ministry director...." Nope.  Not one of those.  It says "care for the orphan and widow."

So if caring for the orphan and widow is so close to Almighty God's heart {closer than being a pastor, Bible study teacher, worship leader, women's ministry director...}, do you really think He would tell us to care for the orphan and widow and not provide for us to do so?

Come on!

Picture this:

I gather my big kids and I say, "I want you to take all the little ones to the park today."

And suppose my big kids said, "Ummm, okay, but mom, the car is empty.  It won't even move.   It's been sitting in the same spot, bone dry for months - completely out of gas and Mom, you know we live miles and miles from the nearest gas station."

Now can you imagine Dw and I saying, "We know it's out of gas.  We know we live a long ways from the gas station.  Now take the kids to the park.  Figure out how to get gas in the car yourself."



Seriously?  What loving, caring parent would do that?

On that note:

Would the God who loves the orphan more than we could ever imagine, ask us to care for them and then not provide the resources to do it??

Not a chance!

He is the faithful provider!

He is 'father to the fatherless'.

He IS the orphan's father

and

He is definitely NOT a deadbeat dad.

Can you seriously imagine the God of the Universe, the maker of Heaven and Earth, dangling a little treasure {or cluster of treasures} before our eyes and sneering:  "This is what I want for you, but you're gonna' have to figure it out yourself?"

NO WAY!!

He is the loving Father who adores the orphan.  But He doesn't just leave it there.  He adores you too!  In fact He has you on His mind at this exact moment as you read this.  He has YOUR best in store for you.  {Yes, even in the darkest valley, He is STILL working behind the scenes on your behalf.}

He doesn't stir our hearts for the orphan and then dump us on our head!

He stirs our hearts for the orphan so that we can have His best.

Think about this:

His heart is for the orphan...and when we purpose in our hearts to care for the most precious of His treasures, then our hearts line up with His heart and He provides every single penny we need.  

There are no exceptions to that!

The God of the Universe loves the orphan, loves you 
and 
No, He is definitely NOT a Deadbeat Dad!  

{But how does He do it?  Part 2 Tomorrow}


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jubilee's Eyes

The day is slipping away and sometimes it is really hard to get used to the time zone thing.  Right now it is almost 8pm on the east coast...and we are just gearing up for dinner!

So thankful for the sweet bloggy friend who shared a few old photos of our Jubilee when she was just a little thing...

This morning our little Jubilee had to go to the doctor.  This was a follow-up for her eyes.  She has many things going on, but they really feel that they can help correct her cross eyes with surgery.

Today they decided surgery is the best option.

She was a jewel at the doctors...

but when we came out she was completely silent.  

I tried to talk to her.  She just stared.

Then I tried to take her for a little tiny treat.  Nothing doing...

She only wanted to go home.

I tried again.

Nope.

"Go home."

I waited a while and tried a third time.

Again..."Go Home."

Okay, so, let me get this straight - what you're sayin' is that you want to go home?  {haha}

After three attempts, my smarts kicked in and I {finally} asked, "Wait! Are you mad at mommy?"

She shook her head "yes".

I'm sure my eyes got big.

"SOOO what's the deal?  Don't you love mommy?"

She shook her head "nope" - she didn't love me.



I tried to explain to her that the doctor is going to help her see much better...and not fall {since she falls daily from her eyes crossing causing a lack of depth perception}.

But my explanation was workin'.

She's still avoiding me.

Sometimes it's really hard, even at 10 years old,  to explain things to her because of her cognitive capabilities, although I sure have tried to explain it all, in as simple an explanation as possible.

*sigh*

I know parenting is parenting and I'm not to be her buddy...{which I'm not} but no doubt, Dr. Dobson was sure right, "Parenting is definitely not for cowards".


Anyone else out there have a child who has been upset with them over necessary medical stuff? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finally! Finally! Finally!

Remember back in February of this year {2012} when we announced how God had been moving on our family's life and that we were launching International Voice of the Orphan {IVO}?   It was such an exciting day for us and so many of you rejoiced with us.   We were 'officially' going to Be The Voice!

If you missed that post, I'm linking to it {here} as it is a story that only God could write, and He began over 50 years ago when I was just a bite-size little girl.

Since February, it has been an amazing adventure and the journey has brought us oh-so-much joy.  So many of you have partnered with us:
 to feed 9,000+ meals to the street orphans through our Front Lines+ program,
 others have helped build a basketball court for the orphans at API, 
others have adopted orphans in prayer through Elijah's Hope, 
others have gone with the GO Teams, 
others have donated to the clean water system at House of Praise 
others have given to serve and train the pastors at the Legacy Conferences,
others have donated items to Orphan Wares,
and still others have shopped at Orphan Wares.  
Many, many, many of you have prayed for the orphans, our team and our family. 
 And some have even given for our support.

Truly, we could not be doing this without each of you!

But we knew we needed to better convey what's going on.  Because frankly, one could think, looking at the web site:  Exactly what in the world are they doing over there at IVO?

So we have been working for months with many, many, many long days {and some seriously long nights} behind the scenes to revamp, tweak and elaborate on what exactly IVO does by launching a brand new web site.  

There are so many exciting things on there now!



For starters:

The pages rotate!  I love that part - cause then anyone can pause for just a few seconds and easily see our ministry highlights and how they can be the Voice of the Orphan...

We are super giddy {okay, so my hubby wouldn't probably be described as 'giddy' but he is pretty stoked} to announce that we now have a "China Connection" headed up by our precious friends, Janet and Kevin Bourke.  They have three Chinese treasures adopted fairly recently from China {and Janet and Kevin are just about our age - how cool is that?}  In the last few years, Janet and Kevin have had their hearts broken for the orphan and now we are super excited to announce that they have joined the IVO team.  

The first thing we are going to do in China is to do a special project for the orphans with Brittle Bone disease at an orphan home near Beijing.  These fragile treasures need new ramps before the cold, snowy winter sets in...maybe you would be willing to help with that project?  Remember 100% of each donation goes directly to the project!

One of my favoritest parts of the new web site is a section called "Adoption Stories"....a place where YOU {my sweet bloggy friends and your friends and their friends} can tell your story...we will be adding stories regularly, so get a move-on writing yours and get it submitted!  The first story is one of my most favorite stories I have ever heard!

No doubt, by sharing adoption stories, hearts will be encouraged!  By God's grace, those who are teetering about adoption will be encouraged to move forward.  Those who are in the midst and struggling will read of others struggles and be cheered on!  And those who never would have guessed that adoption could be something they would consider, will read the stories and have a change of heart - because that's just how Almighty God works!

There is an amazingly cool announcement buried in the pages of the site...which I will elaborate on in the next few days...but if you want to find it on your own, that's okay too....

There is an IVO Knee Team beginning....which will be praying, specifically for the needs of the orphan....many of you will want to be part of that!

There is a place where you can share your ideas on how to better serve the orphan because IVO is always looking and asking the Lord how we can better Be the Voice......

And this is the coolest part of it all - the site will be changing almost daily as we add adoption stories, add GO Team trip dates {because there are five GO Team trips planned for next year!}, update the total number of street orphans meals, prayer requests are shared, etc...and you, will have the opportunity to see it all first hand as together we serve the orphan...because we cannot possibly do this without each of you!

Let's Be the Voice Together,
because there are millions of orphans
that desperately need each of us to do something!!

Introducing the new:

International Voice of the Orphan

And on this very special day, with tears in my eyes I finish this post....ahhh, faithful God.  Personally speaking, who would have guessed 50 plus years ago, through so much pain and heartache, you, oh God, would bring such beauty out of the ashes?  You alone are worthy!  All praise to you, faithful God!  

*Faithful God, may our voices join together as one, 
as we care, comfort and advocate
 for the orphans of the world*

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Simple, Short {MBM} Story

This week I am going to repeat a very, very simple story I told a couple of years ago.  It happened while Dw was in Africa leading a team.

I need to tell this story today, because quite honestly, I, personally, need to be reminded at this moment that God cares about the teeniest, tiniest details {so He cares about the biggest stuff too!} He cares about every single thing you or I care about...

In fact, I Peter 5:7 reminds us:

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

 "All" actually means "all".  {Kinda' funny how that goes.}

Isn't it fascinating and absolutely amazing that the God of the universe cares about all the little details...Every.Single.One. Seriously?!

So, as the story goes, 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 serious help! 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!!

What about you?  What need do you have?  Large need?  Fear consuming you?  Small concern?  He cares about every.single.one.  Just like the hair band.



 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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What a Friend...

Today, during our morning service, a young woman sang a beautiful old hymn.   Although I do not have her actual video singing it, I wanted to post one. This old hymn, has been around since the 1800's.


As I remember all the heartache in the prayer requests shared on our day of prayer and fasting this past Tuesday...there is no doubt that many are in the midst of serious heartache.

Although I don't typically share things like this, today, I just felt like there is someone out there in blog land that needs to hear these mighty words because they are life-giving!

As this beautiful young woman sang the words, both Dw and I began to cry...

The story behind the author of the old hymn is so powerful....

Copied from Share Faith site:

 Irish born Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1896) was 25 years old, in love and to be married. The day before his wedding his fiance died in a tragic drowning accident. Heartbroken, Joseph sailed from his homeland to start a new life in Canada. 

While in Canada working as a teacher, he fell in love again and became engaged to Eliza Roche, a relative of one of his students. Once again, Joseph's hopes and dreams were shattered when Eliza became ill and died before the wedding could take place.

 Although one can only imagine the turmoil within this young man, history tells us that his faith in God sustained him. Soon after Eliza's death Joseph joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married, but spent the remainder of his life giving all his time, money and even the clothes off his own back to help the less fortunate and to spread the love and compassion of Jesus wherever he went. 

 Around the same time that Eliza died, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Many years later a friend was sitting with Joseph, as he was very ill. During this visit, the friend was very impressed when he ran across his poems, including What a Friend We Have in Jesus. As a result of this visit, almost 30 years after his letter of comfort to his mother, Joseph's poems were published in a book called Hymns and Other Verses. 

Soon thereafter, noted musician Charles C. Converse (1834-1918) put music to one of those poems: What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Well-known musician and revivalist Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) was a great admirer of Joseph Scriven. In 1875, Sankey came upon the music and words for What a Friend We Have in Jesus. He included it as the last entry into his well-known publication Sankey's Gospel Hymns Number 1. After Joseph Scriven's death, the citizens of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, where he gave so much of himself, erected a monument to his life. The seemingly sad and obscure life of one man resulted in so many lives being uplifted, both in his own time, and for many years after whenever the beautiful and comforting words of What a Friend We Have in Jesus are sung. 

 What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! 
 What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
 O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, 
 all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. 
 Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? 
 We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. 
 Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? 
 Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
 Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? 
 Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. 
 Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! 
 In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

Here's Paul B. singing it....let it minister to your soul....


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tune-Ups

No matter what type of car, every now and then, they all need a tune-up.

Whether a car is running a little fast, hesitating or just doesn't get as good of gas mileage as was promised, a tune-up is in order.

Of course, if the 'signs' of needin' a tweak here and there are ignored, real trouble can result sometimes, can't it?

So it is with marriage - no matter how long someone has been married, every one could use a little tune-up now and then.

This week-end Dw and I had the opportunity to head to a marriage conference that our church was sponsoring.  Emma graciously said that she wanted us to go and she would keep the kids for us.

I confess I was thinking..."Come on, now.  We have a great marriage...we don't really need to go, do we?"  {Very dumb, I confess, but that's why I'm writing this post.  Confession is good for the soul, they say, right?}

The worship was phenomenal and before long the first speaker started....he and his wife have a national marriage ministry.  And all I can say is that in the 45 minutes this man shared, he changed our marriage, with just one little insight he had.  Seriously, I was dumbfounded.  He nailed marriage so well, I am still shaking my head. 

His concept, which is too long to explain, boiled down to what a woman is really saying when she asks a question...and what a man is really saying, when he answers.  

Simple, but profound.  

He even has a card on the internet that men can download and print out and carry in their pocket {we were laughing so hard I had tears}.  

We have had a wonderful marriage.  It's been awesome for 34 years, but if there was one thing we were going to not see eye-to-eye on, this was it.

Who knew the man would cover it in the very first session?

From then on, everything else was just sprinkles on the sundae.

So the point of this post, is that whether your marriage is rockin' awesome or needs some fine-tuning or a whole new transmission, if you have the opportunity to go to a marriage conference - GO!!

To think that I almost missed it.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Because Of Them



I realized I forgot to post one of my most favoritest photos from Autumn and Karl's wedding...

the picture of the ones at the accident scene.

If you haven't read the miracle story, this picture won't be as significant, but if you walked the traumatic road of Karl's accident with us, you will remember

 {from left to right}

Stuart: one of our most precious personal friends and neurologist from Phoenix.  Stuart had driven for ONE night to hang out with us {or at least that was his plan, but God's plan was way, way, way bigger}.  Stuart would be the only neurologist in all of Durango at the time.  Because of Stuart's presence and expertise, the trauma surgeon {from the neck down} allowed Stuart in to read the CT scan.   Stuart strongly advocated that Karl had to go to a closer brain trauma unit or there was no doubt, Karl would die.

Mike:  an anesthesiologist from Texas, who "happened" {by God's infinite plan} to be driving that rural road in Colorado at 9:40am on that Sunday morning with his wife, Sarah and friends...vacationing... At the wedding, Mike said something sooo profound.  He said, "The Lord just had us each do what we were trained to do.  Nothing more.  I have kept airways open over 40,000 times in my medical profession....that's all I did.  I held Karl's airway open."  

I fought tears as I hugged Mike and his precious wife Sarah.  They had flown in to be at the wedding!  How's that for amazing new friends?  Drawn together by a tragedy turned miracle!

Liz:  {now very pregnant and a bridesmaid in the wedding} - the ER nurse on her way to her only shift in Durango for the entire month of July who was second on the scene...Liz was the one who recognized Karl's tattoo and was able to call Vicky, Karl's mom, who called Autumn, who called me, who called Stuart...getting Stuart to the ER in time to lend his neurologist expertise while the critical decision was made as to where to send the unconscious Karl....

Each of these people could have chosen to do something else...ignore the accident, move along, but each gave their expertise and time and we will forever thank the Lord for His gracious provision that 17th day of July, 2011.

Three very non-assuming people.

None seeking their own glory.

All long ago dedicated their lives to serving others.

And yes, God knew what their servant's heart response would be when He miraculously positioned them on that rural road....

Faithful God.

Always, always, always faithful.

I knew you guys would want to see their picture together.  I cry each time I look at it.

Such selfless people.

Grateful for each one of them.

They are our heroes!!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn's Wedding Pictures

Twenty-three years ago today, the Lord brought a precious treasure into the world.  She would arrive on the first day of Autumn for 1989...and surprise, surprise, the Lord already had prompted us to name her Autumn...how cool is that?

She would arrive in the ambulance as her birth mom was headed to the hospital - clearly reminding all who would know her that she was not about to do things the "normal" way.

Her birth mom had met us a few months before and would graciously hand her, three days after her birth, into our arms forever.  We would dance with this little bundle in our arms for months singing over and over and over, "You're just too good to be true, can't take my eyes off of you....Ohhhh Autumny, we really love you, oh yes, we do...."

 Autumn's 2nd birthday
Daddy had closed his law practice and
we had moved to the East Coast for him to attend seminary....


In a dozen treasures {so far} she would be the only blue-eyed of the bunch.

Who knew?

Her life would have many twists and turns, many difficult patches, painful loss, horrific health issues, but in the midst of the struggles she would meet and one day marry the man of her dreams, a miracle-man, spared by God...



And so today, as we celebrate our Autumn Elizabeth's birthday, her big sister Abi, who has is a world class photographer, put together a wedding slideshow...and I betcha there are enough wedding lovers out there, who will want to view the pictures...

Be warned, it's beyond beautiful....and for you who know the Autumn and Karl story, and prayed for Karl to not just live, but to wake out of his coma and then to be healed during his months of rehabilitation, you will rejoice with us...cause it was the miracle-wedding-of-our-lifetime...

Here's the link:   Autumn and Karl

And if you feel like wishing the birthday-girl a happy day, you are more than welcome to, she's a party kind of girl...and would really love it, no doubt....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ruby's Accomplishing the Miraculous!

One year ago today Emma and I were speeding toward Africa and I was 
anticipating meeting 
my precious baby girl, Ruby Grace, for the first time.
  
Doctors in Uganda that had seen her CT scan didn't think Ruby 
would ever be able to do anything.
Nothing.
Ever.
  
BUT GOD.
He had a plan that would surprise the greatest skeptic
and confound medical professionals.
God is always faithful
and He is always at work around us....
and today I videoed our precious treasure clapping, trying to do the sign for "friend",
finding her bottle on her own and putting it to her mouth
and showing her joy that her therapist is coming {her favorite person outside our family}.
None of which was believed she would ever do.
We humbly acknowledge that it is only God who is miraculously working in Ruby's life -
we just have the privilege of watching the miracles up close...
and we are the most blessed family in the entire world.
Celebrate with us!
Ruby Grace is accomplishing the miraculous!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kneeling Together

Last week I received an email from a sweet bloggy friend named Abby.  {I mentioned her email the other day, but since have asked permission to share part of her story with you.}

Abby had been praying that we would have a corporate day of prayer and fasting so that she would be able to ask for prayer for her family.

Here's a part of Abby's email:

My 22 year old brother, Noah, was killed on August 4th. Noah was a proud member of the US Air Force. He was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, and was hit by a car and killed while he was riding his bike to his overnight shift on post. 

This is the third brother I've buried. 

 All of Noah's belongings are scheduled to arrive back at my parents' home on the 24th, and we have to go through all of them. We need prayer. For peace in spite of not being able to understand the whys, forgiving hearts toward the young woman who killed him even though we may never get an apology, for strength to face the pain as the shock wears off and the reality of this new loss sets in, and that we would be careful as we grieve to say words and do actions that will glorify our risen Savior and point people to our hope in Him. 

 I'd also like to ask for prayer for the young lady who hit him...my prayer is that the Lord will use this terrible thing for good in her life. That if she doesn't know HIM that she will learn to know him and trust in Him for salvation, and if she does, that it would draw her into deeper relationship with Him. 

 I just don't want Noah's life and death to be wasted. I know the Lord can work miracles, and I think my heart is just crying out that He will let us see them here in this life in this situation.

To lose a son - unbearable!

But to bury, now, three sons?

Who can even begin to comprehend?

My heart grieves with Abby and her family.

Would you pray with us that God would comfort, administer His peace to their
broken hearts and that in all of this Christ would have preeminence?

I know many of you are hurting.

Many, like Abby, have experienced great loss.

Many are struggling financially.

Many are in the midst of broken relationships.

Many are longing for a change.

Many need a miracle.

Today, let's pray together for God's presence to overflow our lives.

Thank you for trusting us with your requests.  Many, around the world, will be praying for your need.

Please pray for others as you read through the requests.  It is miraculous how when we pray for others, God moves on our hearts in ways that are unexplainable and together we will see God move mountains...

as we share our burdens with one another....

May God bless you all....

Please share your requests in the comment section below:

Meeting the Neighbors

It's been "one of those days".

The kind where the kids come in to tell me that two of them {one who doesn't speak English yet and another girl-sib} have been throwing rocks over the fence into the neighbors yard and pool.

Joy of joys.



Somehow it seems much more fun and almost "expected" to go over to the neighbors with some kids in tow to explain the rocks in their pool when you're 30 something...

However this does not sound nearly as much fun at almost 54 years old:

"Hello, I'm your new neighbor.  Yes, my home is where all the uproarious noise comes from and yes, I'm so sorry that it probably seems like almost non-stop chaos in our pool.....I deeply apologize that your serene life has been interrupted by all of us.  Yes, I know I have silver hair and wrinkles galore and yes, these kids are mine {all of them} and no, they're not my grandchildren, and yes, ummm, I'm so sorry, but they are the ones who have been tossing rocks over the fence into your quiet, non-provoking pool...and now they have come to ask you to forgive them...."



Yes, it's been one of those days....so I am going to skip Memorial Box Monday this week and besides tomorrow we will be having a day of Prayer and Fasting.

So please post your prayer requests as comments on the very next post {right after midnight East Coast time}....

In the meantime, I'm off {with two kids in tow} to meet my neighbors 
whose home backs to ours.  

*sigh*

I can hardly wait...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Surprise Answers

I know most of you have moved around the country {or world for that matter!}.  So you know what I mean when I say that sometimes it feels like it takes a long while to connect.  I don't mean just to meet people.

But to just feel connected.

Do you know what I mean?

Well today, was a break through day for me/us.

On many levels.

Too much to explain.

Some things too personal to talk about, at least just yet.

But let's just say that my heart is joyful at what the Lord is doing and has done.

He is always faithful.

Even when we wonder if He's been missing what's going on?  {haha}

Even though I know that I know that I know that He's working behind the scenes on our behalf, today He showed up big time and our family is kind of giddy {no this does not mean that someone new is coming home or that there is a mystery message in here}.

Just little {and big prayers} that we have been praying as a family since we moved....and today several were answered.

At once.

And they weren't even prayers that were connected to each other.

Seriously, just whoosh and several answers arrived.

Who knew?

Only Him, because He heard our whispers and cries.

He is so faithful.

But not just to me.

He is faithful to you.

Keep plugging away.

He's working on your behalf too.

Even if it seems like the sun is setting.

He's still working.

He always works the night shift for you, too.

No matter what.

And He will show up, likely when you least expect it, cause He loves surprises!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drinking Poison

Yesterday I asked you all to join us for a day of prayer and fasting on Tuesday.  Perhaps many bloggy friends have never fasted before.  Over the years I have received many emails from folks who have begun to make fasting a regular discipline in their lives and they are so grateful for how the Lord has used this spiritual discipline to move in their hearts and lives.

Today I thought I would do a post about how to prepare for fasting.

As we prepare to fast, I think the most important thing that must occur is to get everything out of your heart and life that would hinder the Lord's move in your life.

Everything.

Some of the things that come to mind is: unforgiveness? bitterness? anger? rage? addictions?  inappropriate relationships? Just for starters.

When I am going to spend time with the Lord or going to fast I always ask the Lord if there is anything that doesn't please Him, would He please reveal it to me? When something pops into your head, or someone's face comes to mind....that would be a good indication that the Lord is showing you someone or something that you need to get right.

It is amazing what will come to mind when I ask the Lord that question.  Some times things even will come to mind that I didn't realize or haven't thought of in awhile.

Another way to see if you have bitterness or unforgiveness toward someone is this: Is there anyone that when you hear their name you get all worked up? Or how about this.....Is there someone that when you hear that they have had a huge blessing it just irks the daylights out of you? There is probably something in your heart towards them.

Did they betray you? Did they hurt you? Did they promise you something and didn't come through? Whatever it is, you need to forgive to have a clean line between you and Almighty God! Get it right!! There is still three days till the day of Prayer and Fasting...plenty of time to get it right!!

I heard it said once, "Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!" 

Yes, unforgiveness holds us in prison and does really nothing to the other person. What a waste of valuable time!!

Many have been hurt deeply by spouses, parents, siblings, friends, employers, neighbors, and even pastors!! But holding unforgiveness is just as much a sin as whatever they did to you. Christ says that unless we forgive others He can't forgive us. That's huge!!

For those who want a more indepth look at fasting....in the comments regarding the fast, Campus Crusade for Christ has a wonderful guide for fasting which can be found here. It is very comprehensive and would help anyone who is new to fasting.

A few years ago I posted a story about fasting.  I am reposting it below.  It is a powerful reminder of the importance of fasting and just how God can move.

After posting about fasting yesterday, I got the following letter from one of my sweet bloggy friends. I wrote her back and asked her permission to share her story. Due to the sensitivity of this story I have changed the name and all details.

I cannot thank her enough for sharing this story about the power of fasting. My bloggy friend and I both are convinced that fasting is what broke the situation with her daughter. And for the record, there is no doubt that for a 21 day fast it is more than appropriate to drink grape juice and tea.

Rejoice with this sweet bloggy friend after you read how our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God moved on behalf of this broken-hearted mom when she fasted:

One of our daughter's, Rebekah, got into heavy drugs. Her boyfriend at the time abused our grandkids. They were taken away from her by her choice because she decided to stick with her drug addict boyfriend. Her ex got the kids and would not allow us to see them for many long years. Even the laws at the time couldn't help us.

Anyway, not only did Rebekah get into heavy drugs but had to find money for those drugs and turned to prostitution. For years we would not hear from her unless a prostitute had been murdered and she would phone and say it wasn't her.

About 6 years ago I felt I was to fast for 21 days and pray specifically for her. I drank only water, tea, 

and grape juice. When I started my fast we hadn't heard from Rebekah in about 2 years. At day 17 of my fast, she phoned and her exact words to me were, "You've been praying for me, haven't you?" I said, "Yes I have, why?" Rebekah then said, "I can feel those prayers".

Within a year, Rebekah was at a drug rehab center and has been drug free now for a couple of years and is out of prostitution. YES OUR GOD IS AWE INSPIRING and BIG!! He knew this mother's heart, knew I needed to have a relationship with her and knew I needed to see our grandkids. Within 6 months from fasting, out of the blue our grandchildren phoned me on Mother's Day and we've had contact with them since.

And that my friends is just one story that is a powerful reminder of why we fast.

Join us Tuesday, September 18th, will you?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Bloggy Friend Asked Me....


I received a precious email the other day from a bloggy friend.

She had been praying that we would have another
day of prayer {and fasting} soon.

She and her family were in the midst of one of the most 
difficult times that anyone could ever imagine and she knew 
that prayer and God's grace would be the only thing that would help.
I read her email aloud to Emma {the only big person home at the time}
 and I couldn't even finish it as my tears were streaming.

Yes, my sweet friend A, it's time for a day of prayer
{and fasting}.  

Many of you have also written with painful situations.

Many of you are in the midst of difficult times.

And I know that many are secretly struggling with life.

So this coming Tuesday 

September 18th

 we at our Place Called Simplicity invite you to participate in a day of
Prayer {and Fasting for those who are able}.

On Tuesday, just after midnight, I will do a post that those 
who wish to leave prayer requests on can do so.
Then thousands around the world will read your request and pray.
It has been a powerful time in the past.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
DO NOT POST YOUR PRAYER REQUESTS ON THIS POST. 


I am praying that many of you will join with me
before the throne of grace on behalf of 
our sisters and brothers around the world
this coming Tuesday,
September 18th.


{I will be talking about Fasting over the week-end, for those who are new to it.}

Thank you so much.


xo



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

 The other night, I was home alone with the little ones.

Our youngest six.

And when I went to tuck the little boys in, I couldn't help run and grab my camera...

they were howling with laughter.

They had climbed up on Graham's bunk and were giggling about something that had struck them so funny....

 What fun they are having!

Three brothers!

Forever!








And a mom who didn't realize the 'flash' was off.

ugh.  


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Look Up!

Did you see?

Did you see?

Did you see?

Check out handsome Mr. Nehemiah Judson on the header.

How cute is that?  He fits perfectly.

And yes, he is 5 months older than Isaiah.

I squealed when I saw that he was there.

Thank you Kim Foo.  You so totall rock!

Did It Change Your Life?





Last year on the 10 year anniversary of September 11th, I asked you, my bloggy friends, to share where you were when you heard about the terrorist attack on our nation.

This year, Facebook seems eerily quiet about it being September 11th.  Is it just me or did any one else notice?  Last year, it was every where.

Maybe because it was the 10 year anniversary, although I'm not really sure.

But I know for me, personally speaking, my life forever changed on September 11th, 2001.

Being perfectly vulnerable, it actually changed a lot.  I never would have guessed that America could have someone do something so unexpected and horrific and succeed on many fronts.  And of course, having grown up with lots of fears, there was much opportunity to live in fear again {which I had to remind myself of God's faithfulness at each opportunity for fear}.

But I don't just think about it as September 11th rolls around, do you?   The memories of watching September 11th unfold are always not too far from my thoughts.  The loss.  The agony of watching it all unfold.  America's vulnerability.

Am I the only one who seems to have it continually lurking not far 

from the back of my mind?  

I often think of Isreal and how those living there have random attacks at any given time.  What must that do to the emotions of those residing in Isreal?  My emotions just cannot forget that day.  They cannot forget  all the loss and the weird part is that I wasn't even actually 'there', you know what I mean?

But this is my country.

And then there's Liberty doing a report on the September 11th attacks. She's been researching a bunch, reading a ton and we've been talking a lot about it all.

I can feel the tears well as we remember it all.

So here is my question for you, my friend.

Did September 11th change your life?

Do you think about it all often?

A lot?

A little?

Not really much anymore?

And if it did change your life, how did it?

And on this day, I pay heroic tribute to the brave men and women who lost their lives in an attempt to save some one else.



To the courageous folks, just like you and me, who brought the plane down in Pennsylvania to protect our nation's capital.



To our Homeland Security who continually monitors the safety of America and to our devoted military who signed up because they didn't want what happened to America happening again...all of you...thank you.

Your selfless love for others is exactly why I am so proud to be an American.

So did it change your life?

Talk to me.  

Please.