Saturday, April 28, 2012

my time at PINK

Here is a super short clip of worship Thursday night at PINK Impact at Gateway Church.  Gateway corners the market on worship--bar none.  And Kari Jobe is the absolute best.  Thursday night opened with Dance Revolution.  They were brilliant and beautiful.  Then, Amena Brown quoted a poem about the Supremacy of Christ.  It was chill-bumpy incredible!  Beth Moore taught about characterstics of healthy Christ-followers.  I seem to have more of the non-typical female attributes(like nurturing, affection) and am stronger on the male-type atributes like "charge to walk worthy", and exhortation.  for those who've known me a long time, I know you aren't shocked one bit.  Live out a big charge...that is me!  But, be affectionate and nurturing, not so much.  I'm going to work on incorporating more of those things ;)  Beth Moore was really great.  She was funny, engaging, down to earth, practical, and gave some good meaty material complete with lots of Hebrew and Greek lessons.  The next day was fairly good.  Not blow my socks off like it was the year before last.  Mostly for some personal preferences.But that being said, last night was wonderful.  Andy Andrews(author of over 20 books), was the funniest man ever.  He had insightful and challenging words.  I'm going to get the dvd and make Carter watch it.  Then was Holly Wagner.  She was so good!  Here are a few great quotes:
"more than answers, sometimes God wants us to have perspective"--Andy Andrews
"God doesn't call us according to our past, but according to the plan he has for our future"  Holly Wagner
"Maturity doesn't come from what I know, but from the hard stuff I have to perserve through"  Holly Wagner
"What result are you looking for that you are willing to do womething you don't like?"
"The life we've been given to live involves risk....This is the moment in history God trusted you with--why?  He thinks you can be part of the solution!"

It was a fun time hanging with 2 of my sisters, my  mother, and some friends.  Admittedly, I was a bit distracted.  Carter got his license this week and was going to drive somewhere for the first time while I was gone.  Dillon was sick.  I have 2 projects for school due at 8:00am Monday, and I am leading an adoption information meeting at our church Sunday evening(and I don't have my worksheets yet!).  So, I was a little stressed.  Here is the big news:  Christine Cain(leader of the A-21 campaign that fights the sex trafficking industry in Europe) will be there next year! Can I get a Hooray!?  I've got my ticket already. Wanna come with??

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Late Easter fun at Nana's

Saturday we headed to the country for Mike's side of the family's Easter fun.  And fun it was!  The most gorgeous day. It really made me want to pack up and move away from cookie cutter little neighborhoods and have land--wide open spaces!!
We began with kite flying.

Nana and Grandma are the best egg hunt planners.  Note the big girl's with store sacks--they are bigger and hold more loot. They had a large and perfectly manicured area to hunt for candy, fruit roll-ups, beef jerky, mini bottles of sport drinks and such.

I like this pic of my sis-in-law.  We seem to be having a robust and funny conversation--no doubt about our nutty child-rearing.  She is a nurse also, so we commiserate about healthcare.

This pic is one I took through the bedroom window screen. They were playing baseball in the field while I did my Leadership and Management project(gag!)

After eating a ton, we ended the day with a just after nightfall egg hunt.  This was done with flashlights!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My latest adventure with planning

I like calenders and schedules and plans.  Sure, I can be spontaneous too and jump into something with both feet, with little advance notice. The past month I've been wrestling with a few big-time decisions.  Grad school:  do I plan on starting in August in order to utilize the momentum I've got going right now?  What if I wait and then enjoy not being in school so much that I never start?Or, do I wait until January and enjoy getting Hudson settled into PreK and all the fun fall has to offer?  Plus, I've been hankering for a good mission trip and figured I could go during the fall, then dive into school in January. Then there is the whole school decision--pretty confusing and driving my half-nuts.  I've got that one narrowed to 2 and almost sure of which one.  Anyways, moving right along....
A month ago I was volunteering in a medical clinic that is connected with the homeless ministry in the city(before you think I'm all that and a bag of chips, I'm just doing this to fulfill a requirement for my career advancement ladder at work and it comes with a handsome raise--there--honesty!).  I met a kindred spirit--she had a homemade purse from her trip to Haiti, just like me!!  She wants to go to Nurse Practitioner school to do medical missions, just like me!  She is leading a medical missions trip to Haiti in September, just happened to have the info packet with ther, and......invited me to go!!  I was thrilled and said "Absolutely."  For some reason, I didn't mail in my registration form that week.  I prayed so so so hard that God will please reveal his plan for me and that I would know exactly what He wants me to do regarding school, when to start, the trip.  He was fairly silent for 2 weeks.  I was going nuts trying to make a decision.  You see the trip was awesome and I wanted to go, but, it wasn't orphancare.  I've been really really wanting to go somewhere to minister to orphans.  My mother also. Fast forward to the mail arriving 2 weeks ago.  Our amazing adoption agency, Dillon International, sent the quarterly newsletter.  In it they profiled a trip to Seoul, South Korea in October....serving special needs orphans, ministering to unwed pregnant women, serving meals to elder, teaching English and other such activities.  Instantly, my heart beat faster and my mom was ready to GO.  The only problem was that I was afraid it would be boring.  That sounds crass, but it just doesn't have the incredible craziness of a trip like Haiti.  Korea is developed and I've been there 3 times.  So, I prayed more and more.  In Mike's mind, it was a done deal--Korea all the way baby!  He spoke great wisdom to me.  He told me that if I'm truly passionate about orphan care, then why wouldn't I go to the place that does it best with the agency that basically developed the most quality orphan care in the world???  Dillon International has been ministering in South Korea for 40 years.  Those children are well taken care of and the rest of the world could really learn from them.  Plus, I'd get to snuggle on the children who weren't adopted due to special needs and are growing up in an orphanage. I don't know how to articulate what a powerful connection that is without divulging our 2 youngest son's personal birth stories, but it is feasible that, if not for God's infinite plan and adoption love story, they also would have grown up in that special needs orphanage.What a sweet honor and privelage to give a little something back to the country that gave us 3 of our precious ones. The scales were leaning towards Korea.  Then, I had breakfast with my friend Susie.  Susie always thinks my nutty ideas are great.  I was hashing out all my tough decisions.  When I described the Korea trip, her eyes filled with tears and she was moved in her soul.  I could tell it resonated with her.  I said "why don't you come too?".  She called her hubby and, this is the part I'm sooooo impressed and grateful for, he had zero reservations, was 100% supportive and told her they'd make a wayd to pay for it.  Just like that, she was in.  I called mom, and she was all fired up, she was in.  We gathered our deposit and registration and mailed it off.  We were headed to Korea!!  Then, wait for it, something crazy happened.  We got an email from Dillon.  The Korean airline wanted to give the international portion of the plane tickets(minus taxes) to an adoptee between the ages of 8-15 and a parent.  But, the application deadline was in 3 days.  Dilemna, we had to decide if Abby was going.  Why the heck not, right??  What's another 2 grand when you have a forever memory to make? So, with that, I applied.  Mike and I prayed that if the Lord had a great plan for Abby going, then we'd win, but if it needed to be just me going, we would not win. You guessed it, we were selected.  I also have enough credit card points that we've been saving to purchase a free ticket for me to LA.  It is going to be very expensive--a LOT more than Haiti.  But, good grief, God has shown himself faithful over and over and over---when we are doing HIS will, not our own!  I'm not worried.  I will just keep driving a crappy old car and not spending money on stuff in order to pay for this amazing opportunity and memories with 3 incredible women:  my daughter, my mother, and my best bud.  Hey, it sounds a bit like a chick movie doesn't it?
And as for school, I'm waiting til January.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

cracking me up and inspiring me

Hudson has quite the exclamation to things:  "Cinders and Ashes!"  This is due to his obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine.  So, instead of exclaiming with wow or cool or goly gee, he says "cinders and ashes!"

Dillon copied his memory verse in Growth Groups as church Sunday.  It tickled me so much that I took a picture and am blogging about it. 
It should say In this world you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33b.  The reason I love Dillon's rendition so much is that it says "in this world you will have! I have overcome the world."  Yep, sister, you WILL surely have!  We don't know what all that will entail, but I do know sometimes we will have troubles, trials, joys, fun, hardships, temptations, laughter, love, anger....etc.  Dillon's version is totally appropriate.  In this world, you will have!!  And, guess what, no matter what the blank after the have is, Christ has overcome.  If you are follower of Jesus Christ, you already have the matter what!  Precious precious.

In a few days I'll share my big news and the amazing story of it all.  And no, we aren't adopting again, and no, I'm not pregnant!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hudson's take on heart health

Hudson must know the exact schedule for everyday, down to each detail.  I think it helps him feel ordered.  Anyway, this morning we were talking about him going to daycare tomorrow because I have to work.  He asked what I would do at work.  I told him that I take care of the sick people.  He asked "why are they sick?"  I explained that they had hearts that were not strong and needed me to help them.  Brilliantly, he replied "Maybe they not eat their green beans" LOVE it!!  You can see, I'm constantly harping eating veggies and fruits.  When you take care of heart attack and obese diabetic patients everyday, you get a bit nutty about this stuff.

In other news, I finally submitted Dillon's Certificate of Citizenship.  To all you non-transcountry adoption peeps out there, that means that we will finally have concrete proof that Dillon is indeed a US citizen(other than the certified adoption decree and the certified amended birth certificate)!  Yes, I realize he came home at the age of 4.75 months and is now 9.  Yes, I realize we were supposed to complete this step eons ago!!  However, it burns my britches that we must do this last step.  For heaven's sake, we had to pay 800.00 for US homeland security to first grant approval to bring in a tiny orphaned child.  Then, we have to jump through their burgeoning beaucratic bull(cool alliteration there wasn't it?) to get a document proving he is legit.  Guess how much the Certificate of Citizenship is??  550.00! I'm carrying a chip on my shoulder, I know.  Maybe we will submit Hudson's sooner than at age 9.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Instant large family

They are complete!  Yep, our good friends and their kids landed today from Ethiopia.  R.(girl) is 13, S.(boy) is 12, Y. (boy) is 8, and E.(boy) is 4 or 5.  Sweet kids.  After many many years of infertility and pursuing adoptions,
here is the whole beautiful and God-woven family
Here is the sign Abby, Dillon, and I made for them.  Dillon drew the American flag and did a darn good job.  Abby is a natural artist.  I, on the other hand, attempted to draw a soccer ball in honor of the 12yr old son, S., who loves soccer.  Lame-o, it looked awful.
Here are the 2 littles of the new fam.  Baby E. is the miracle surprise :)  Little man E. is 4 or maybe 5, with his face full of personality and shine, was such a sweet ham!  He kissed everyone he met on both cheeks and gave squeezing hugs.
So fun to see the culmination of them being posted on my prayer list on the bathroom mirror the last 2 years.  Cross them off...on to pray for some more mountains to move....hmmmm?
And, in the perfect order of celebrations in Texas, we stopped for cheap Tex-Mex.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


First:  Scroll way down to pause my Music Player on the far right so you can hear my Dad and Carter playing The Beauty of the Cross(sorry Dad if you are embarrassed!).  Carter has a beautiful voice but only was singing harmony on the chorus.  And this song says exactly what Easter is really about(hint hint:  has nothing to do with bunnies and chocolate!).  The chorus says "The beauty of the cross is that your grace has found me just as I am".  And that is the gospel:  Christ saves us just where and how we are.  The only faith in the world in which you don't have to DO anything.  You don't have to PAY anything.  You don't have to BE anything.  Simple sacrifice of our savior, simple faith, and simple salvation.  If you need more info, please email me.
Easter is my fav!  The weekend was great.  On Saturday we had lunch with Mike's mother, grandmother, sister, and nieces.  Then, they all went to an awesome Broadway style musical in the city(Darn you creeper internet stalkers that keep me from sharing where we live and have to talk so cryptic!).  Abby, Carter, and Mike loved the show.  I stayed home with the little boys.  They aren't ready to sit through that type of thing(nor do I want to pay a fortune for their tickets).
Sunday,we had a fantastic time at our church.  The praise band blew the roof off during The Great I AM. Then we headed to my parents.  Yes, you do see Lexi and Dillon on a 20foot tall wood tower with a zipline.  Don't judge:  some grandparents have sweet little toys to play with, my parents have a veritable playground in the backyard complete with dangerous ziplines with no padding, above ground pools with home-made(okay, rigged) slides that begin 5 feet in the air) and such. Kind of explains what I mean when I say I grew up a bit hippie-like

 Here is Brad tossing Aspen in to the air.
 Hud pushing Kylie and Aspen on the swing.
 Abby and Lexi helping Hudson sort some goodies
 Most handsome 9yr old Korean boy I know...Dillon!
 And an adorable little 3month old bootie!  Yes, baby C. is still living at Brad and Melody's home.  Please pray he can become their forever son.  Aspen kept telling us "He is my baby brudder.  He is so cute!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Shoes For Orphan Souls drive

Our sweet little church's adoption and orphan ministry shoe drive ended last week.  We rocked the house this year!  Last year was our church's first Shoes For Orphan Souls (SHOES ) drive and we collected 52 pair of shoes.  Honestly, I was bummed.  It seemed small.  However, it was a start.  My goal for this year was to just beat last year's number.  We blew last year out of the water!  The church collected 128 pair of new shoes and 60 pair of new socks to send to orphanages all over the world. You know what kills me?  The sweet little princess tennis shoes that I know are going to be worn by a little girl who is nobody's princess.  Know what else?  The big man size tennis shoes that are going to be worn by almost grown teenage boys living in an orphanage.  Did you know that boys(especially dark-skinned ones) over the age of 5 are almost impossible to find adoptive families for. 
And, while we are on this topic, my friend R. is on the plane to Ethiopia to pick up his and J.'s new 4 children!!  The sibling group is 3 boys and 1 girl ages 13, 12, 8, and 4. I was blown away by what he wrote on his blog.  I don't have permission to share their blog, so I'm just going to paste an excerpt that totally spoke to me! 

I want people to think we have it together. But we don't. None of us do. We're a mess and yet God loved us where/how we were. He is the One to right the wrongs, fix the shortcomings, and repair our nature.
I want people to think we're not crazy. But we are crazy. What we're doing is not complimentary to the American dream. It's counter-cultural. It values children over homes, cars, jobs, money, success, etc. It measures happiness on a different scale. Our Father was crazy to sovereignly adopt us into His family as His children. That's nuts! It's a messy family. Ours will be too.
I want my kids to be smart, funny, happy, successful, etc. But they may not be. At least not according to the world's standard. God values our holiness above our happiness; I want our values for our kids to align with His values for His kids.
I don't want to elevate comfort and niceties over Christlikeness and Kingdom treasure. Actually it's my nature to do so. I want to. I want a better everything. I choose to fight that desire for the sake of the gospel. To show Christ's all-suffieciency I will try to fight my nature while the culture feeds it.
To my fears, people have offered that God is always with us, never leaves us, works all things for good, etc. I don't doubt any of this. I believe it. But where my belief ends and my unbelief begins is a thin line that says "He's there, but He's not enough." Truth mixed with lies, just like in the garden. "God, You're all I need plus my salary." "God, all I need is you plus _____." What would you fill in the blank with? Money, health, kids, friends, happiness...the list of things we need lengthens.
I want to believe He is all I need. So I war. War with me. Give yourself away for the sake of others. Give away your stuff for the sake of the gospel. At the end I believe we will find God. And that He is all we need

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grad school

YIKES, I just worked on 2 grad school apps.  Took me 2.5 hours.  I'm so confused about which program(am intereseted in 3 schools) and when to start(August or January).  Tried fasting yesterday for a full revelation.  I only made it til 5pm, had 2 cups of OJ the entire day.  I kept praying and praying and asking Jesus to show me what He wants me to do.  At 5, I was feeling faint and grumpy.  So, I gorged!  Finally, I decided to just begin applying.  I may not get in to them all and will go wherever I'm admitted.  Will keep ya posted.  Feels good to say "grad school."  Only 3 more years and I'll be a full-fledged Family Nurse Practitioner!  Look out Nicarauga, Haiti, Mexico, wherever...I'm gettting ready.

Monday, April 2, 2012

park outing Saturday

We had a lovely day Saturday.  The weather was perfecto.  We loaded the kids, minus Carter who was playing AirSoft wars with his friends at an old 1940's warehouse, and headed to the city.  Our city has a wonderful running and bike path along a river.  There are parks and trees to stop and enjoy along the way,a stunning view of the dowtown skyline, and a healthy sprinkling of homeless folks on park benches just to remind you to be grateful for what you have.
 Mike and Abby zoomed on ahead and rode to the downtown area.  I walked next to Hudson on his tricylce and Dillon on his bicycle.  We looked at ducks, the choo choo train and enjoyed the day.  Dillon beganing moving ahead.  Who could blame him?  Hudson was talking so much that he kept veering off the path and into grass, easily distracted and going slowly.  Dillon was getting way ahead and I started to get really nervous.  Soon, he was really far away and couldn't hear me yell at him.  I could see the little figure pedaling down the path.  Dilemna time.  With Hudson, I didn't know how to run and catch Dillon.  When Dillon is separated from me, I get really antsy.  Although he is nine, thanks to his articulation disorder, a stranger would never understand what he tells them about his name or his parents name.  Thanks to developmental delays, he doesn't know his phone number, birthday, or address, and thinks that when you have a "mergency" you call 991!!  So, you can understand my panic.  At a park bench next to the trail was a dad with his son.  They had bikes next to them and were taking a break, eating popcorn.  I stopped and said "Excuse me sir, this will sound weird, but my other son is way ahead and I need help getting him to turn around.  The man looked down the trail, looked at me, looked at his son's green and white flame painted dirt bike and said "Here, hop on my son's bike and go catch him."  And, my friends, that is just what I did!!  I left Hudson with the the man and kid, praying that they were decent folks while the book from my childhood swirled in my head--Don't Talk to Strangers.
 I zoomed down the bike trail on an 8yr old boy's dirt bike.  If I weren't afraid of something bad happening, I'd have laughed hysterically!  Dillon's face was too funny when he saw me.  He was like "What the heck is going on here and whose bike is that?"  We pedaled back to the helpful dad on the bench.  There was Hudson, true to form, yammering the poor dude's ear off and eating out of his bag of popcorn!!  The man said  "he does talk alot doesn't he?"  I profusely thanked this kind stranger.
About 20 minutes later we reunited with Mike.  He advised me not to tell other people, especially those mothers with only 1 kid or with only babies--they would freak out and think I'm an awful mom.  Hey, I confess, I have a bunch of kids and not all the answers ;)
The funniest thing was still to come.  A bit later, I was helping Hudson and Dillon play on the merry-go-round.  A stranger walked up and said "Excuse me ma'am, this may sound weird."  I braced myself for the inquisitive adoption question or comment.  Nope, that wasn't what she wanted.  She worked for a children's drug prevention program.  Every Saturday she goes to local parks and watches for parents "Caught being good."  She said that parents playing with their children was very helpful and she wanted to give us prizes.  The boys got games and cinch bags and I got a 30.00 gift certificate to Chili's!!!  SCORE baby.
To top it all off, we got to visit with our sweet friends Ryan and Jessica.  Aaaaannnd, drumroll, after 15 months of waiting for paperwork to clear, they will be bringing home the sibling group of 4 home from Ethiopia in 2 weeks!!!