Archive for February, 2013

  • Gracie’s Lenten Project

    Date: 2013.02.27 | Category: Grace

    I realized that I have shared this with friends on Facebook, but not everyone has Facebook.  I thought I would share it with my other friends who have been following Gracie’s story over the past year.  Gracie has been feeling much better.  She is still not in remission, but she has been feeling very good.  She continues to take many medications daily, but she always does it without complaining.  She has a check up in March and we are hoping that she will reach remission by that time.  It’s been 18 months, so we are all ready for that day to get here.

    Gracie truly has the most amazing, compassionate heart.  She saw the Love Without Boundaries (LWB) Lenten Campaign on my Facebook and decided she wanted to be a part of it.

    Gracie has a special place in her heart for orphans and she has her own page on the LWB site to collect donations.  She started out wanting to donate the $50 she had been saving for a laptop.  With a $7 allowance every two weeks, it took her quite a while to save up that much.  I asked her if she was sure and she said, “That they needed it more than she did.”  Her goal at the beginning was to raise $100, her $50 plus another $50.  Within minutes of posting it on her “Hats for Gracie” Facebook page, a friend of the family, Mary, matched her.  Gracie was ecstatic and tried to decide what her goal should be now.

    We received an e-mail from Julie at LWB who informed us they had just purchased 20 boxes of formula and it had cost them $1,694.  Gracie decided that was going to be her new goal.  At the time, she had raised $170.  I told her that she had 10% of the amount needed and maybe she was setting her goal a little too high.  She then informed me “That she didn’t ask for $1,000,000.  Now that would be a lot of money.”   She prayed about it over night and decided this was her new goal.  As of yesterday, she has raised $1,000 with the help of friends and family.

    Watching her feel empowered to help orphans has been a wonderful and amazing thing!  If you want to collect your change over the next month and contribute to her Lenten Campaign you can donate directly at  http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/get-involved/heroes/fundraising-events/gracie-ellsbury/

    Thank you for considering helping these adorable babies this Lenten season.  If you would like to see some of their sweet faces you can go to the Healing Homes page on LWB’s site.  True Children’s Healing Home

  • I will keep my eyes on the Lord

    Date: 2013.02.26 | Category: Adoption

    If I listen to the words of the world, then I become fearful.

    “How will you ever be able to go to church again?”  We home churched for years while Codey was sick and Dan was in medical school and residency.  Plus, now there are a million different ways to church – books, internet, cable, and the best Christian worship music readily available.   I think I’ve got it covered.  Keep my eyes on the Lord.   Matthew 18:20  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

    “This is going to be so hard!”  First God’s book does not say “Come to this world and take it easy.”  He doesn’t hand you travel brochures, say see the world, put your feet up, and ignore what is going on around you.  It says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5    Second, I’ve been through hard.  I’ve been through years of a child with a trach, on a ventilator, oxygen, pulse oximeter, apnea monitor, g-tube feedings, suction machines along with a toddler, living in a single wide trailer, in a new town, with no family close, no friends and no ability to get out of the house to make friends, husband in medical school, working nights on weekends, no money, no one-low-rate phone plans or cell phones so you can call home.  I’ve been through hard and hard was still a blessing.  I still had family and a husband who loved and supported me and was my best friend.  Life is NOT supposed to be one long vacation.  Life is not about what you can acquire.  That is not what God calls us to do.  If you are comfortable, really comfortable with your life, and nothing every pushes you out of that comfort zone, you have to ask yourself if you are doing enough.  Satan whispers, but I keep my eyes on the Lord.   Philippians 4:13  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. 

    “What if more than one child is in the hospital at the same time?”  We’ve been there before.  I’ll admit it wasn’t fun, but it’s doable.  Plus, I have more hands ready and willing to help now.  Keep my eyes on the Lord.  Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you;

    “What if you can’t bond or what if you mess up how good your life is now?”  Nothing great was ever accomplished without risk, but risking my “perfect” on a child who has no hope – is okay with me.  I’ve already bonded.   These are my children and I would go to the ends of the earth for them.  I will bring them home.  I will work day and night if that is what it takes, because they are worth it.  They are children of God.  Just as I am a child of God.  I deserve nothing more than they do.  They did not ask to be born and abandoned.  They did not ask to be brought into this world and left alone to fend for themselves.  They did not choose this life.  They are innocent victims of a cruel world, with too much evil in it.  I will keep my eyes on the Lord.  James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    “What if…..What if…..What if……”    Well, what if everything I worry about doesn’t come to be?  Which is exactly what happened with the last adoption.  What if it turns out so much better than I could ever even imagined?  What if my children go from a future that is bleak to a future that is filled with hope and love?  What if they can die surrounded by a family that loves them?  What if they believe?  What if that belief saves them for all of eternity?

    So what if my life is more complicated?  So what if I can’t pack everyone up and just go shopping?  So what if it would take an army for us all to go to the grocery store?  So what?  My life being a little more complicated is worth watching my children be saved from a life of no hope and presenting them with a life full of hope and opportunity in which they find eternal hope.   My comfort zone for the soul of a child.  Sounds like a pretty good trade to me.

    I will keep my eyes on the Lord!

    orphan

     

     

     

     

  • Facts that will break your heart

    Date: 2013.02.25 | Category: Adoption

    Or at least I hope they break your heart or make you question if you are doing enough or if you could help someone else who is trying to adopt.  I hope these facts convict you and make you want to do something.  Anything.   Believe me I get that everyone isn’t called to adopt, but you can still help.  You can still make a difference. You can still do something.

    I  read these facts in an article which had some pretty staggering statistics.  You can read the whole article here.  I’ll tell you why…

    In this article she talks about the “fact, out of the 167 million orphans, 120 million will never receive any education whatsoever. About 60% of these orphaned girls will become prostitutes, and 70% of these boys will become criminals by the age of 18. 10-15% of these children will commit suicide before the age of eighteen. Every year, 1.8 million are forced into human trafficking, prostitution, or the pornography industry, and 11 million will die of a preventable or treatable disease. These children have no chance at improvement. While orphans here are struggling, orphans oversees are dying.”

    This statistics make my heart just hurt.  I look at Min and I think about what her life would be if we didn’t adopt her.  She has very few options.  No education, no wheelchair accessibility, no foster family, no options for jobs, no welfare or disability income available, no affirmative action, all of this equals no hope.  My heart hurts when I think about all the others that are still there. All the others who will age out at 14.  All the other children who just want a family to love them.  I think about Ben and having to die alone and without a family.  I think about Maisey who is deaf.  What would her options be?  You wonder why I continue to talk about this over and over again, this is why.  We are talking about a future that would have been my children’s future.  The future that is truth for millions upon millions of children.  They have so few options.  You may not have known the facts before, but if you are reading this, you know them now.  What are you going to do about it?

    I’m only one. But still, I am one.
    I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.
    And because I cannot do everything,
    I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
    – Edward Everett Hale

    The better question is why aren’t we doing more, especially when these are the facts….

    “First, there are around 100,000 orphans in the United States compared to 167 million orphans worldwide. According to The Washington Post, there were over 600,000 women in America waiting to adopt in August of 2008. In other words, if every woman in America adopted one child domestically, there would still be over 500,000 women willing to adopt. However, even if these 500,000 women adopted internationally, there would still be a over 11 million international orphans needing care. Now, think for moment. In 2007, 78.4% of the United States’ population of 302 million considered themselves Christian. James 1:27 commands the Church to care for the widow and the orphan. If less than half of these 236,768,000 American Church members took this command to heart and cared for the child that God had placed in their hearts, there wouldn’t be an orphan problem, in the United States or anywhere else.”

    We could fix this problem.  We could at least put a huge dent in it.  We could reduce the number of orphans in the world and save God’s children.  So why aren’t we?!?!   Why?

     

  • Eli update

    Date: 2013.02.21 | Category: Adoption, Elijah

    For all those who have been praying for our little ones, I have an update on Eli.  I heard yesterday that they are still trying hard to get Eli added to this trip.  It would take a miracle, but I know who is in charge and last I heard He was pretty good at that miracle thing.  Please continue to pray that we can get him on this trip.  It would be so nice to not have to travel again in six months and it would be better for Eli to not have to wait.

    I have been hesitant to talk about him because I don’t want to get my hopes up and I have been afraid that something would go wrong.  I was afraid if I talked about it and it didn’t happen then what would others think?  Recently though, I have been reading through the Bible with the Facebook group (Read through the Bible 2013) and have come across verse after verse talking about how people believed enough in Jesus and the disciple’s healing powers that they would just set people in the street and wait for the miracle (healing) to happen as they were passing by.  They believed.   I’ve read these verses before, but this time they really touched my heart.  I started asking myself do I believe?  Do I believe that God can truly do anything?

    Acts 5:15   Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 

    Friends believed so much that they lowered their friends through a roof.  Mark 2:1-12

    They believed if they just touched Jesus they’d be healed, as in the women who touches the hem of Jesus garment.  (Mark 5:24-34).

    Verse after verse talks about people believing that if Jesus would just say the word, the dead would rise.  (Mark 5:23, Luke 7:11-15, and John 11:38-53).

    They believed. They believed.  They believed.

    I believe.  It doesn’t mean I’m not fearful of where this will go, but I BELIEVE!  I believe that Eli is my son.  I have believed it from the moment I saw his little face in that newsletter and prayed to the Lord in heaven to let Him be mine.  I believe it every single day when I hear Ben talk about his didi (little brother).  Dan and I purposely choose to not talk about it for fear that the little ones wouldn’t understand.   But Ben believes that Eli is his didi.  Ben prays for Eli throughout the day.  Ben talks about Eli and him playing train and watching Mickey.  Ben says, “Eli and I are going to do this…..”  and Ben believes it with his whole heart.  I can’t explain it.  It has to be a God thing.

    I tried recently to explain to Ben that we would be getting the three girls but we would have to go back to get Eli.  Ben told me “No mama.  You bring Eli home.”  I keep trying to tell him what is going to happen so he understands but over and over again he tells me that I am wrong and that Eli will be coming home when we travel.

    We have been told they will do everything in their power to get him home soon.  We have been approved on our homestudy for four.  Immigration knows this.  The only problem is the CCCWA.  They have NEVER, ever approved four at one time before or at least that is what we have been told.  Will they understand that our family is unusual and we can do this?  I have so much help.  I have a husband who specializes in the care of sick babies and works from home during the week. I have a mother and mother-in-law who are both retired and love nothing more than to spend the day with their grandchildren.  I have a 20 year old daughter and a 24 year old son who live in an apartment on our property to be close to home and be a part of their younger siblings lives.  My 20 year old daughter is specializing in special education and will be a huge help when we start to home school these little ones.

    I believe that God has chosen us to be Eli’s parents.  I believe that Eli will come home with us on this trip or the next expedited one because he is my son.   But I also believe that God performs miracles every day.  I believe that God can get it approved so that Eli will come home with us in April.  I believe it with my whole heart and on that day I will be praising my God who is a miracle worker!  I believe that God will show His great and glorious power and all will see what wonders He can do.  I BELIEVE!

    John 4:48   Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • My children’s hearts

    Date: 2013.02.20 | Category: Adoption, Cassie

    I’m feeling the need to share a little about my children’s hearts.  It has become a running joke in our house that we aren’t done and we may never be done adopting.  The kids tease me and I laugh.  I suppose it’s funny because I have said I was done after each and every child.  “No more!” I would say, but then God would tug at our hearts and we would soon have another daughter or son.

    Cassie and Zach understand that if something were to happen to Dan and I they would be responsible and they have agreed….whole heartedly.  I don’t know many 20ish year olds that would do that.  Cassie recently wrote an article for a magazine that I wish I could share.  I don’t feel right sharing the whole article, but I can share what she said others have asked her.  My friends (Cassie’s friends) would always ask, “Why are you being a part of this?” “Aren’t you tired of helping your family and not having a life?” and my personal favorite, “Why would your parents do this to you?”  Cassie goes on to explain how much she loves her siblings.  How her family is her and she is her family so she has never felt like her family was doing this to her.  She has always felt privileged to be a part of this.  She also feels like the luckiest girl on earth when she comes home from school to cheers from Ben and Maisey.  “Yay Cassie’s home!  Love you Cassie! Yay!”  This is followed by huge hugs and kisses.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a cheering squad whenever they walk in the door.

    Our whole family has agreed to this journey that we are on.   God has called us to love children and we feel honored and blessed.  What a huge blessing it has been to trust in God and His plan.  We aren’t doing anything to our “other” children.  I won’t say there aren’t time issues sometimes or there aren’t disagreements. But every family has those kind of issues.  What we do have is a family that loves children.  Gracie goes on and on about not stopping at 12 and if anyone should have a problem with our adopting more, you would think it would be the baby of the family.    We are blessed in so many ways to be able to do this at this time in our lives.  What a gift.

    My children’s hearts are wrapped up in orphans and their causes.  Their passion is a beautiful thing to watch.  Gracie is trying hard to raise money for Love Without Boundaries nutrition program.  You can go here  Gracie’s Love Without Boundaries page    if you’d like to help too.  They have big hearts. I’m very proud of their compassionate, caring, God-trusting hearts.  I love that about them.  They have a faith that I wish I would have had at that age.  I can’t wait to see what they do for Christ as their lives go on.  As a mother, you can’t ask for anything more than that.

    I feel like I’m adding a P.S. or two to my blog.  I just wanted to share what Cassie put as her Facebook status today.  This shows my girl’s heart.

    12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:12-14
    Please notice: it doesn’t say that the Father in heaven is not willing that the rich little ones, the American ones, the happy ones, the ones we like, or the ones who have families, should perish.  It says any, the Father is not willing that ANY of His little ones be lost. So who are we, as the Church, to decide who does and doesn’t get saved -gets loved by a family-based on gender, race, ability, or native country? We are the Father’s hands and feet: it’s time we started loving like it.

    P.S.S.  🙂   Here is a song that Cassie has been listening to a lot.   It reminds her to love Ben for as long as she has with her whole heart and not be afraid.  If anyone should know about this subject it would be the singer.  He has a son with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  You can read their story at Bowen’s heart

  • Adoption Information

    Date: 2013.02.19 | Category: Adoption

    Here are a couple of events that will help people with adoption, people who have adopted, and people who want to set up adoption and fostering programs in their churches.  Please share with anyone you think might want this information.

    I believe we are a group of passionate, caring parents.  I believe that together we CAN make a difference – one child at a time, one church at a time, one enlightened person at a time.  I believe Christians are commanded to help the orphan (James 1:27).  I believe most churches aren’t doing enough to spread the word and support those who do foster and adopt. I believe every child deserves a chance at a family.  I believe today is a wonderful day to start a movement!  I believe with God we can accomplish great things.

    www.showhope.org

    Empowered To Connect

    Chicago, IL – The Chapel – Barrington Campus
    April 19-20, 2013

    Houston, TX – Houston’s First Baptist Church
    September 13 &14th, 2013

     

    www.summit9.org

    summit9-banner

     

  • Waiting

    Date: 2013.02.17 | Category: Adoption

    As we get closer, it gets harder and harder to wait.  This mama longs to hold her children.  It’s one thing to wait 9 months knowing that your child is safely nestled and growing within you, but it is completely different waiting to go get them.   I hate not knowing if they are afraid, how they are being cared for, not knowing if they are hungry, not knowing how they are on a day to day basis and truth-be-told, I’m not doing well with not knowing. My heart hurts with the waiting.

    This song says it all.  We have room in our hearts and room in our home.  They will be loved for the rest of their days.  I thank God every day for bringing me to them.

  • What I meant to say….

    Date: 2013.02.15 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder

    She says it so well that I will just send you to her blog. 🙂

    So Long Self by Lori McCary

    It is exactly how I have been feeling lately as written in my Priorities and my Joy vs Happiness blogs.  I don’t want my life to be about me anymore.  It is hard.  Very, very hard.   I question everything anymore.  How often is too often to eat out.  How much money is okay to spend on yourself.  Does that mean you should always do without?  Every time I order pizza for our large family, I think about how that could have been another child sponsored.  It’s hard to know what is enough.  It’s hard to know how much you should give up.  The American lifestyle says it’s all about self.  It’s about bigger and better and more. It’s all about me, me, me.  But the Christian life does not say that.  It’s all about having a servant’s attitude.

    Philippians 2:3-5  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…

    Galatians 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

    It’s all about giving more.  In the disciples time, everyone took care of each other.  It was never government run support it was Christian Christ-like giving.  Why have we not been taught that in our churches? Could you imagine what could be accomplished if this was done today?

    Acts 4:32-35   All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

    I’ve spent way too long thinking about me.  My life has been about getting through medical school, then residency, then fellowship.  It was all about surviving until we could have the American dream.  Then we bought the nice house.  We bought the nice car.  But it didn’t change anything.  I wasn’t any happier than I was when I lived in my single wide trailer wondering if we could pay our bills.  Even then I was content.  I’ve always felt blessed.  I’ve always been grateful for all that God has giving me.  I don’t know why I thought life would be so much better with things.  I had everything before I had “things”.  It became about more than me.  It became about putting God first.   So for all of you who think I’ve lost my mind with adopting this many children in just a couple of years, I say “I haven’t lost my mind.  I’ve finally figured out what it is all about.”  It’s not about me!  It is NOT about me!  It’s about them.  It’s about following God’s lead even when I’m afraid.  It’s all about those little ones lives. It’s about keeping my eyes on the Lord and asking Him to show me where there is a need.  It’s saying “Send me Lord” and not waiting for someone else to “do something”!

    That is my new motto “Do Something!”!!!!!      In her blog Lori modifies the popular saying about wearing your body out.  This is how I want to go……

    “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out for the cause of Christ, poured out, completely emptied of “self” for His glory, and declaring — It was all for you, Jesus!”

  • Joy vs Happiness

    Date: 2013.02.12 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

    I have been asked many times how I can be so happy every morning.   The truth is I don’t always wake up happy.  Sometimes I want to hit the snooze button a couple more times. Sometimes I don’t want to get up, go out into the cold, and workout.  Sometimes I don’t want to start my day with another load of laundry or empty the dishwasher or change another diaper.

    But I do get up.  I get dressed.  I head out the door, climb in my car, and I pray.  I look at the beautiful sunrise and am reminded again how lucky I am to get to live my life.  During my drive, I thank God for all that I have been given.  I thank God for the opportunity to raise my children.  I thank God for bringing them into my life.  I thank God for my best friend and husband.  I thank God for my home.  I thank God that I have food in plenty.  I thank God that I am able to get up, walk out the door and workout.  I thank Him for the tests that He has set before me to further my walk with Him.  I thank Him for one more day with my children.  I thank Him for the opportunity He has given me to go get my children in a few months.  I thank Him that I am able to do so many things.  I ask Him to allow me to encourage others.  I ask Him to give me the wisdom to say the right things and to help those He places in front of me.  By the time I get to Farrell’s, I am feeling so blessed and so grateful that I am just happy to be there.  I am happy to be able to live another day and I feel like rejoicing.

    Philippians 4:4   Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again.  Rejoice!

    Here in an excerpt from the book Living With Purpose  “Happiness depends on happenings.  It comes from the root word hap, which means luck or circumstances.  Joy is a choice.  Joy is not dependent on circumstances.”

    These words are the truth.  If you strive your whole life to be happy, you will never get there or there will be moments of happiness, but it will be fleeting.  Joy is a choice.  It is the choice to be grateful.  It is the choice to look at how blessed you truly are.  It is the choice to really appreciate how much you have been given and how lucky you are to be alive in this country and at this time in history.  It is truly a choice!

    You have the choice, even during difficult times, to be joyful.  You have the choice to look at what is happening as a test.  A test that will strengthen you.  A test that will further develop your walk with Christ.  A test that will bring you where you need to be on the walk with God.  A test, not to bring your harm, but to build perseverance.  You can be joyful even in times of trouble.  You can trust the Lord.  You can turn it all over.

    On one of the blogs that I follow about a little girl waiting for a heart transplant, the mom was talking about how there can be pain and joy at the same time. It’s a hard to wrap your head around that fact, but it is the truth. Your circumstances shouldn’t change the fact that you always have hope and that hope should bring you joy. Learning to be content and joy-filled is a journey.

    Romans 5:3  We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. 

    James 1:4   Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    All it takes is a little perspective.  All it takes is a quick look at the nightly news to see how wonderful you truly have it.  If you believe in God, then you always have hope.  Hope is a wonderful thing.  You have hope for the new day.  You have hope for a life after death.  You have hope each and every day that tomorrow will be a new day and you can start anew.

    Lamentations 3:23 “Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.”

    Your tests will never end.  There will be big tests and there will be small tests.  I once heard a pastor describe tests as elephants and mosquitoes.   It’s easy when the test is huge to turn to the Lord.  It’s easier then because you feel so overwhelmed you have no choice but to turn to the Lord.   It’s when the swarm of mosquitoes goes after you and you are constantly being hit by one more little thing, that it’s easy to grumble and complain.  The car gets a flat tire, the sink starts to leak, and your child gets in trouble at school.  Small, little episodes that turn your attitude to one of complaining.  If you take the time to be grateful for all you do have, you will see that those little things aren’t really such a big deal.  If you compare it to a child dying, or your house burning down, or a car getting totaled and your child ending up in surgery or paralyzed, you realize that it isn’t a big deal.  You probably won’t even remember it in a few months.  The trouble is keeping our eyes where they need to be.

    A good lesson is the 10 rule.  It reminds us that things happen and you can think “Will I remember it in 10 minutes, 10 months, or even 10 years?”   Most things will not be remembered in 10 months or 10 years.  I can’t remember the bills that I couldn’t pay 10 years ago.  I couldn’t tell you what I was hoping to buy that I couldn’t buy.  I can’t tell you what I got 10 years ago for Christmas.  I couldn’t tell you what house repair needed to be done.  Most things will not be remembered in 10 months let alone 10 years so don’t let it rob you of even 10 minutes of your joy.

    Choose to be grateful.  Practice waking up every day and list 5 or more things that you are grateful for.  You will be surprised at how long your list truly is.  As you do this, you will see how hard it is to remember the bad stuff when you are busy being grateful.   If you need a reminder of just how good you have it, here it is:

    • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.
    • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

    You truly have many, many reasons to be grateful.   You truly are blessed.

     

     

     

  • Priorities

    Date: 2013.02.11 | Category: Adoption

    I find it interesting when people say they’ve always known they would adopt.  It wasn’t that I was against adopting, it just wasn’t on my radar for quite a while.  Our first adoption, literally came out of the blue.  A baby was abandoned and left to die in the hospital, my husband fell in love, and boom we have a baby.  Granted not many people were signing up to take a child who was left to die and had a 50/50 chance of survival, but still she was a gift from God.

    When we decided that God was calling us to adopt from China, we set out to adopt children that others might not readily adopt.  It was our choice.  Yet, I have had more than one person say if they were dealt my cards, they would go out in the back yard and burn them.  I chose most of my cards so that comment really threw me for a loop.  One of my friends wrote the other day about wishing she had comments for those really odd comments that take you by surprise.  I’ve practiced for the usual ones.  Like when people say I’m a saint, which is so funny.  I know that they say it because they want me to be “more than” because it let’s them off the hook, but the truth is I am not “more than”.  I’m a normal (well, most days), average, every day mama.  Sorry!  It’s the truth.

    My practiced comment now leads back to being obedient to where God is leading.  I’m obedient.  I choose to “do something”.  It is nothing more than that.  I’m still afraid.  I still make mistakes.  I still don’t get it all done, but I choose to give up certain time wasting things because I don’t have time to waste.  I get up early or stay up late to write because I feel that it is important.  I am very, very busy most days.  I have chosen to give myself a break and not think I can do it all (if you see my playrooms you will understand) .  I take care of my children and show them love in as many ways as possible.  I encourage friends when I can.  I make sure my husband and I stay connected and communicating.  I get up early to do my Bible studies before I head to workout (my me time). I workout while everyone else is asleep.   I make certain things a priority and all the other stuff has to take a backseat.  Those are my choices.  I make conscience choices now instead of just letting my days pass.  I have chosen to make my family a priority.  I have chosen to make helping orphans a priority.  I have made the choice to let go of the usual American retirement.  I don’t want to golf.  I don’t want to take fancy trips.  I don’t want to garden.  I don’t want to spend the last 20 years of my life trying to fill my time.   I want to wear this body out.  I want to give so much love that I don’t think I can give any more.  I want to help as many children as I can.  I want to spread the word and get as many children as I can adopted.

    Every day we make choices.  Every single day we get to choose what becomes the most important thing in our lives.  It’s not that I don’t ever watch t.v. with my family.  I do but I choose what I watch and on what days.  I never sit down and lose hours mindlessly watching t.v.   I don’t get magazines any more because I never take the time to read them.   I chose very specific things to baby myself with – a bath, a book, getting a pedicure.  If I need a break, I take one.

    I think this story portrays priorities wonderfully.

    A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

    They agreed that it was full.

    So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

    They chuckled and agreed that it was indeed full this time.

    The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.

    If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.

    We all make choices.  Every day we choose.  We choose what is important.  We choose what we value.  We choose where our time and our money will go.  I used to think that my children’s educations were the most important thing.  I used to take great pleasure in being able to tell people how bright Zach and Cassie are.  But I now know that is NOT the most important thing.  Being educated is important, but following God’s path for your life is more important.  Being kind, considerate, God-fearing, and emphatic are more important than being book smart.  Having a good, solid foundation in biblical principles is much more important that being on the dean’s list or going to a private college with a big name.   I would rather spend my time saving a child’s life than worrying about the fame and fortune my child will one day have.  As I said before, this is my choice.  Others might disagree and that is okay.  That is your choice.

    I love my life.  I am beyond excited that soon I will have 3 more daughters.  I’m overwhelmed with the blessings of having so many little ones in my house.  If  I had a full time job and if Dan didn’t work from home, this wouldn’t be possible.  If Zach, Cassie, Hope and Grace, weren’t all on board this wouldn’t be possible.  If my mom and Dan’s mom didn’t want to help, this wouldn’t be possible.  But it is possible.  It’s possible because God set up my life to perfectly be able to handle taking in these children at this time.   God has lead me to a path I didn’t believe was possible and I am overwhelmingly blessed each and every day for these opportunities.

    Everyone has the choice.  Every single day you have the choice to be happy or sad.  You have the choice to be giving or selfish.  Every day you have the choice to be obedient to God or ignore His calling.  Everyone has the choice.  If you decide to not make a choice, you are still, by default, making a choice.  Make your choices matter.  Make your life matter.  Anything is possible one day at a time, one child at a time, one prayer at a time.

     

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