Archive for July, 2012

  • Fun Friday Photo (mini’s edition)

    Date: 2012.07.27 | Category: Benjamin, Maisey, Photos

    Learning rock, paper, scissors

    Finally need new clothes & I LOVE them!

    Have I mentioned just how silly Ben is?

    Too cute!

    Going for a drive!

    Photo bomb from Hope. Mei loves the noodles!

    "Don't go Hopey!"

    Yay for Hopey!!!!!

  • Adoption

    Date: 2012.07.25 | Category: Adoption

    I was recently given a suggestion for a book to read by a friend of ours.  After she only read one chapter, she e-mailed me because it fit with everything I’ve been feeling lately. I ordered my own copy and it came in the mail today.  I read the first chapter and cried.  How can you read the words (from the book Adopted for Life), “For a couple of seconds, my mind flashed back to the first time I ever saw these two boys.  They were lying in excrement and vomit, covered in heat blisters and flies, in an orphanage somewhere in a little mining community in Russia.” and not cry.  Or read the blog of a mother who was asking for prayers for a little girl from Bulgaria who at the age of 12 weighed only 12 pounds.  How is that even possible?  How can we, with all the wealth we have in this country, let this happen to children?

    I know that I have seen the ads and pictures on tv before and I have thought  what can I possibly do?  But then I went back to my own little world.  It wasn’t until I unwrapped my little girl and boy from their bundles of clothing and saw their malnourished bodies that I grasped what it really meant to be starving – both for affection and food.  I cried that night and I have cried on many nights since then because of what they endured.  Sometimes I can hardly stand the thought that Maisey lay there for 6 1/2 months before she was brought to the Hills.  6 1/2 months of crying because she was hungry.  6 pounds at 6 months.  It boggles my mind.  Was she even able to cry any more?  Did she stop crying because she learned that it didn’t matter?  Or Ben who didn’t talk at all when we got him.  When he finally talked he sounded like he hadn’t used his vocal cords in a very long time.  Did he just give up?   Why did they hold on for so long?  Why am I lucky enough to get to hold them now. Why am I so blessed as to be able to be loved by these two sweet babies?  Why did everything work out for them when it doesn’t for so many others?

    If you believe in God, you can’t turn your back on this problem.  If you believe in the Bible where it is stated over and over again to take care of the widow and the orphan, you can’t just walk away.  If you know there are ways you can help, it is wrong to turn away.  As Russell Moore says in the above mentioned book, “Adoption isn’t charity – it’s war.”  It’s war because Satan wants us to do nothing or to feel so overwhelmed we think there is nothing we can do.  That is why you will hear me say over and over again to look at New Hope Foundation or Show Hope or Love Without Boundaries or any of the many other wonderful organizations.  I mention those 3 specifically because I have dealt with them personally and believe in their missions. These organizations are sponsoring families and children in a way that is amazing.  They sponsor adoptions, surgeries, nannies, babies in orphanages and more.  You can see where your money goes.  A friend of ours recently sent money to help a child with a surgery in our families name.  Love Without Boundaries in turn sent us that child’s picture and prognosis after surgery.  Tangible gifts.  I know not everyone is called to adopt.  But we are all called to help in any way that we can.  I have to say it again.  If you are reading this, please pray and consider what you can do.  Matthew 25:40 (KJV) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    There are 147 million orphans some say the number is as high as 163 million.  You alone can’t help them all, but you can help one.  You can make one child’s life better.  You can help feed one child, clothe one child, help pay for one child’s surgery.  You can make a difference to one child.   It’s the story of the little girl and the starfish….

    A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm.  When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean.  People watched her with amusement.  She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this?  Look at this beach!  You can’t save all these starfish.  You can’t begin to make a difference!”

    The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated.  But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean.  Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”   

    Make a difference for one today!  You won’t regret whatever you do for the least of these.  I guarantee it!  🙂

     

     

     

  • Things you never imagine happening….

    Date: 2012.07.21 | Category: Benjamin, Codey, Family Life, Maisey

    For those of you who don’t know my son Codey, he is 25, severely physically and mentally challenged. One of his favorite things to do is open his window and listen to the cars go by and the birds sing. He has his big, fake leather, comfy chair parked right there under the window.  He would sit there for hours if I would let him. We actually partially unscrew the screw in the lock to keep him from being able to unlock it and open the window even when it’s 100 out.

    I admit that I worried about Codey and how our new kids would do with him. He doesn’t like to share toys. He doesn’t like change. He doesn’t like his wheelchair so he gets around our house by scooting on his bottom.  He growls when he’s upset and can yell very, very loud.  How do you explain that behavior to a child who is mostly deaf but can hear really loud noises or a child who 4 months ago only spoke Mandarin?  It’s one thing to adopt a baby and have them grow up around it.  It is a completely different set of issues to take a 2 and 3 year old and introduce them to him.

    I’m sure you’ve heard me mention before that you should never worry because the things you worry about often don’t come to be and you couldn’t even possibly imagine what might come to be.  (Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. – Corrie ten Boom.)  I’m not a worrier by nature, but thoughts do cross your mind – no matter who you are and how strong your faith is.  You think “How am I gonna handle this if….”.  It’s just human nature.   I wondered about whether they would get along.  What if they didn’t like each other.  What if Benjamin and Maisey were afraid of him.    Codey is a very tenderhearted, sweet, affectionate, loving little boy.  He may be 25 but he is a small child mentally.  What if their behavior made Codey sad?

    It seems I had nothing to worry about.  The other day, I found Codey trying to help Maisey on to his chair. There was no growling involved.  No yelling whatsoever.  Just secret laughs and quiet whisperings of who knows what.  Codey was politely helping Maisey up on the arm of his chair and what does she have in her hand? A SCREWDRIVER! How does a 2 year old deaf girl communicate with a 25 year old non-verbal boy? I’m pretty sure I never even considered this happening. Needless to say, I worried for nothing.   AGAIN!  They are the best of friends and I am one blessed mama.  Codey shares his toys with them.  Codey shares his food with them.  I don’t know how Codey knows that they were hurting souls, but he did.  God is good!

     

  • God is good. Man can be evil.

    Date: 2012.07.21 | Category: Family Life

    This is a wonderful blog from a mother at the midnight premiere.  People always ask where God is in all of this.  God gave us free will.  Man can choose what he does.  Could God stop it?  Yes!  But then we wouldn’t have free will.  I have tried many times to wrap my head around bad things that happen to people.   I have yet to succeed, but the verse does not say all things will be good. The verse says God can take all things and make them good.  That is a huge difference.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose  Romans 8:28

    so-you-still-think-god-is-a-merciful-god

  • Fun Friday Photo – (Cassie edition.)

    Date: 2012.07.20 | Category: Photos

    One of my favorite Cassie pictures...ever!

    My pretty little Boo!

     

     

  • The butterfly effect

    Date: 2012.07.16 | Category: Adoption, Family Life

    This song is so appropriate for what I have been feeling lately. I want my life to matter.  I don’t want another day to go by without doing what God is calling me to do.

    And I believe God is calling me to do more.  I have had people tell me that it is only my emotions, that God really isn’t speaking to me.  I can tell you for a fact when God speaks, you know it is from Him.  It’s not like I’m hearing voices or God has my cell phone number. I’m not delusional.  What it is though is a feeling to the very core of your being.  It is knowing something with such certainty, such clarity, that even you are amazed by it. It may be accompanied by dreams.  I’m never sure if  the dreams are my subconscious living out what I am feeling or if I’m really having a dream based on something God is trying to tell me.  Either way when you have one of those dreams, you don’t just wake up, shake it off, and go about your business.  It is life altering.

    Then in the coming weeks you hear sermons, read devotionals, talk to others and their words all line up with those deep feelings.  Things you have heard or read before take on a new meaning and you wonder how you missed it the first time.   Things like the song above which hits home or the verse below that was in my devotional.

    Luke 12:47-48: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”     or….

    Os Hillman’s devotional stating this – Satan’s strategy is to keep us distracted with the urgency of the moment versus the importance of eternity.  Ask God what your priorities should be today.  Make His priorities your priorities.

    God commands us to take care of the least of these.  He states over and over again to take care of the injured, the hurting, the widow, the orphan.  Pastor’s sermon this week was on the Good Samaritan.   Which made me stop to think, would I stop and help?  Would I give money to help?   Or would I  just say the words “I’ll pray” and then move on and forget about it?  It’s not that I don’t think praying for others is important.   It is very important!  I stopped to really contemplate this a few years back.  After that initial moment was gone and I had said my prayer, did I remember to pray again?  Truth was I wasn’t as good as I should have been about it so now I write it in my phone notepad.  I open it to remember people that I’ve said I would pray for so I remember to pray every day while it’s needed because I’m busy and more forgetful than I want to be.  I want others to know that if I say I’m praying for you then they will truly be in my prayers.

    Luke 12:47  says that if we know better and do wrong than the punishment is worse.  Somehow I missed that verse or it didn’t stick as well as it should have.  I’ve heard verse 48 over and over again.  Even Spiderman paraphrases it – ” With great power, comes great responsibility”.  But being held more accountable because I knew what I was doing was wrong – was a new idea.  There is such a thing as prosperity testing.  I know I scoffed at the idea when I had no money.  Who would be tested with more money? If you could pay your bills and have some left over, where would the test be in that?  I’m mean seriously bring on that test, I’m sure I could pass it with flying colors.  Well, at least those were my thoughts.

    But remember the widow who gave her two last coins?  The Bible talks about how that is worth more than those of us who give a little of what we have.  The thought of how much is enough drives me crazy some days.  Every time I order pizza for our huge family, I think about how another child could have been sponsored.  It’s not that I think that you shouldn’t spend money, take trips, eat out.  I just don’t know what is enough to give.  I fail miserably at not wasting money.  I hate that about myself.  I look back at things I thought I really needed – only to be discouraged as I’m taking it to Goodwill.  Why did I buy it?  Why did I waste the money?  So many people are doing without and I am being wasteful.  I give to others.  I help out when there is a need.  I care for orphans and give to World Vision.  But deep down in my heart I know I’m not doing all that I could be doing.  For that reason Luke 12:47 frightens me.  I know better.

    I often wonder will there be a list when I get to heaven?  I believe things will become known to us.  That smile you gave to the person at the store, may have turned their day around and you will hear about it.  Those Bibles you donated, you will have believers coming to you thanking you for the word. You will see the people their lives touched after they were saved.  The child you sponsored will come forward.  BUT the other stuff is more scary.  Will I see all those people I drove by – the homeless and the hurting?  Will I see the people I hurt when I was distracted and unforgiving?  Will there be a list of all those mental attitude sins that I did each and every day?  Gluttony – too often.  Judgmental – more than I care to admit.   Envious – it’s too easy to do that.  Angry, lazy, the list goes on.  I know Christ died for my sins and they are covered, but the fact that they are keeping me from being who I could be bothers me.

    I don’t believe God promises me wonderful vacations and an easy life.  I do believe He says eternity is wonderful.  The blessings will be more than I can even comprehend.  I sometimes forget that it’s not about my life here on earth according to the world’s standards.  It’s about fulfilling His purpose for my life here.  I know people think to be adopting at 48 is crazy, but there are at least 2 more babies that are waiting for me to mommy them.   2 more babies that I should love and protect for as long as I am allowed.  I believe this to my core.  I’m hoping for more than that.  I know that it sounds crazy, but I am so happy to think about more babies.   When I was young I had hoped to have 12 children and then I let fear get in my way.  God’s plan is much better though.  Now I get the chance to have 12 (I do so hope) and I am old enough, with enough life experience, to truly appreciate what that means.  I get to have my dream when I thought that dream was long gone.  It makes me cry sometimes that is how blessed I feel.

    God is calling Dan and I.  It’s not just to adopt either.  I’m not sure where it will lead but the stuff that has happened on Dan’s end has been amazing.  God is truly an awesome and wonderful God.  Watching everything fall into place has been truly amazing.  If there is anyone who is busy, it is Dan.  He works at Mercy; he is the Director of Clinical & Quality Improvement for a national company; he writes articles, journals, and books; and yet, when the opportunity to volunteer for Love Without Boundaries came about he stepped up.  He goes above and beyond and I love that about him. God is calling us.  I’m excited and scared senseless at what that might mean.  We have so many ideas some of which are coming into play.  Helping orphans has been laid heavily on my heart and God will provide the direction.  There are so many hurting children.  If you could see the pictures that I have seen you would cry and have your heart hurt right along with mine.  I can’t share most of them because of confidentiality, but I can share one blog that recently came to my attention.  http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/search/label/Ruby%20Grace  Read the headings The Miracle of Ruby Grace – Part 1&2 and try not to be moved.

    Which leads me to where my thoughts have really been lately.  I have heard people say I understand about adopting, but my life is so much simpler now.  The kids are all in school.  Life is good.  I don’t think that I could add that to my plate or afford it or I’m too scared.  I understand that.  Adoption isn’t for everyone.  I get that.  But you can mentor, volunteer, donate, sponsor a child, etc.   There are a million ways to do what God is calling you to do.  I just have a really hard time with the “my kids are growing up and life is easy now” statement, because in reality what you are saying is your are more willing to leave a child in an orphanage rather than make your life harder.   A hard statement I know, but I believe it.  I’ve said the “I’m too busy to…”  “I don’t have any money to spare.”  “It won’t make a difference.”  But none of those things are true.   That is why I’m having difficulty with my own life.  What am I saying by not doing more?  What am I saying by not giving more?  You can have an effect that goes on and on – the butterfly effect is what it is called.  Dan likes to say you can have a butterfly effect or a maggot effect.  What do you want your life to mean?  Spread those wings and shower love on those that you can.  You never know who’s life you are touching with something as simple as a smile.

     

     

     

  • Fun Friday Video

    Date: 2012.07.13 | Category: Benjamin, Grace, Maisey

  • Fun Friday Photo

    Date: 2012.07.06 | Category: Benjamin, Cassie, Grace, Maisey, Photos


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