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Monday, November 26, 2007

Finally They Are Here!

So I mentioned briefly a LONG time ago that we had professional pics taken in July. After months of negotiating with the photog my in-laws bought the copyright to the photos. Without further delay, here they are! I love these!!

The pics were taken from the beach house that we stayed at. It was a great view! The fourth of July fireworks were a blast. I hear that area was hit during the fires. I wonder how the beach homes fared? My guess is they are fine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for. I am making a small list in honor of the season and the One who has blessed us so much this Thanksgiving.

1) I am thankful for the gift of hearing,
2) that I can recognize the voices of loved ones,
3) that I grew up listening to my father sing and play the guitar
4) That I can hear my own voice lifted up in praise to our God
5) that the Lord has given me spiritual ears to recognize His voice
6) I am thankful for my vision.
7) That I can look upon creation and enjoy the majesty of
8) Sunsets, sunrises, stars, ocean waves, rain, thunder, lightening.... to name a few
9) I am thankful for my past.
10) that's right, every painful piece of it, for now I see that none of it will go to waste
11) I am SO THANKFUL that in Christ nothing is a waste
12) That we can actually pray and ask God to restore the years the locust ate
13) and that he actually DOES restore them!
14) I am thankful that He has never given up on me even when I wanted little to do with Him
15) I am thankful that God lifts us up in due time
16) I am thankful that the LORD has revealed to me and Dustin that He may not have necessarily called us to a comfortable life on this earth
17) I am thankful that Christ is teaching me and D to be comfortable with relying on HIM alone
18) I can't believe how much I love the life I have been given,
19) The God I serve,
20) The people He has given me to love
21) The excitement associated with pouring myself out before Him the rest of my life
22) and the ability to experience Him accomplishing in and through me more than I could have ever asked or imagined.
23) I love and am so thankful for Dustin my BELOVED Husband
24) and our children
25) and our parents
26) and our extended family
27) and our many friends
28) and Palm Valley Church
29) and The church Universal
30) and all people, for that matter.
31) I am thankful that I can ask God to give me a heart like His
32) and pray he'll make me able to love people more
33) and that I can KNOW that He will give me the desires of my heart!
34) I am thankful for the sword of the Spirit which is the WORD of God!!
35) I am thankful for the Holy Spirit which is the mind of Christ
36) and that the Spirit dwells in those who believe on Christ
37) and that God can be known
38) that He isn't cruel and aloof
39) that He reached down from on high to touch my pathetic sinful self
40) and made me a new creation.
41) That I can be filled with His Spirit just by the asking
42) I am thankful for our health
43) for our home
44) for our business
45) for each and every employee God has blessed us to be able to work with.
46) I thank God for the customers who pay the bills.
47) I am thankful for every mentor who has invested in my life and Dustin's life
48) I am full of thanks for every dear soul who attended Genesis Church
49) I love the way God build His body
50) and that I still have such love for people I may not see again in this life
51) I am thankful for Chaplain West and his precious wife and girls
52) for their service to our nation and their sacrifices
53) and for all the other Service men and women they represent
54) I am thankful for every martyr who stood firm in the faith and showed the rest of the body what it means to follow Christ in total surrender.
55) I am thankful that I live in a nation where I can write freely about my faith.
56) I am thankful that there are brothers and sisters all over the world who will confess Christ knowing they will suffer for it
57) I am thankful I was born wealthy
58) that as an American I live in the top 3% of the world's wealthiest people
59) I humbly thank God that He has begun to speak to us about what we should do with such wealth.
60) I am so thankful God shared His vision and heart for adoption with our family
61) and that He caused us to follow through in obedience
62) I am thankful that in 2008 we look forward to bringing our son HOME!
63) I give thanks that 2007 will be over soon
64) for it was a VERY difficult year
65) but a very blessed and fruit-filled year
66) and because it was so blessed and difficult I am thankful that I can say I wouldn't change anything.
67) I am thankful I have retained a bit of what was taught me this year.
68) I am thankful God is a God of second chances (to quote Veggie Tales!)
69) I am thankful for yummy food
70) and for Jan's mom's special stuffing recipe!!
71) I am thankful that there are people giving up their holiday festivities to serve others in food kitchens all over our nation
72) I am thankful for the abundance of food our nation enjoys
73) I am thankful for stair stepping machines
74) and the ability to peer out my sliding glass door at the one I own
75) You know, the one that collects dust and NEVER gets used!
76) Which will be available for my use after I reconfirm my commitment to my New Year's resolution
77) I am thankful for Chocolate!
78) Which is one of the worst causes of the need for the stair stepper!
79) I am thankful for the children who D and I are blessed to serve weekly at PV
80) I give thanks that God has used them to teach me SO much about HIS love
81) I adore the team of folks who serve in the Playhouse at PV... THEY ARE AWESOME!
82) I am thankful for..... ( You know i have to mention HER) Beth Moore
83) I see a woman who obeyed God in the little things
84) Did the HARD stuff
85) And was used by God for the benefit of others, like me, to teach me life transforming truth!
86) I am thankful that God taught me that obedience is the key to experiencing Him
87) and that every day I have the opportunity to obey.
88) I am thankful that in 2006 God flipped a switch in me
89) I feel like a new woman!
90) I am so very thankful for the loving network of people who keep us going
91) Who pray for us
92) Who hang out with us and make life so much fun to live.
93) I am thankful for pray warriors we have never met
94) Who get down on their knees with us across our nation
95) Who are in the same boat as us as we wait patiently on the Lord to bring our kids home
96) The Internet is a beautiful thing and I give thanks for the connections we've made via our Yahoo Group with AWAA
97) Our agency is expanding programs into more countries and that thrills my heart!
98) Now there are even more opportunities for children to find families who will love them
99) I am thankful that as 2008 nears we still have yet to discover answers to many prayers
100) I am thankful for Jer 29:11 and the excitement every day brings for those waiting for God to unveil His plans for all those He loves.

I pray this Thanksgiving finds you overflowing with joy, peace and especially THANKSGIVING. I pray you would be filled with the presence and love of Christ!

With so much love,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Our Miracle Paper

Well, here it is. Our miracle paper. Ya know, I thought it would be a bit more spectacular in it's appearance. It's pretty boring and humble looking considering the weight this single paper carries with it. Notice the little check mark in the box stating the we are APPROVED!! Thank You Lord!

You can't see it in this picture but it is dated Nov. 2, 2007. Folks, I need for you to know that Nov 2nd was the day I fasted and prayed for our AWAA yahoo group. I also need you to know that I wrote to a woman who was having a hard time just as I was. On that day (Nov 2nd) I wrote:

Oh my goodness I was hurting SO much yesterday and then I went to bible study (Living Beyond Yourself.. by Beth Moore... CAN'T RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH!!!) She gave a lesson about Goodness (as expresed through the fruit of> the Spirit) and how doing good is associated with just that, the active, energized action of DOING good. She referenced Isa 58:6-11. The conditional promises related to "pouring yourself out" so today, the best healing for my heart has been to pour myself out in prayer on behalf of others doing what little good I know I can do.. which is; praying continually on all occasions for all believers. IT has strengthened my frame today!!

Now is your jaw on the floor like mine is right now!? As i was praying a judge in Phoenix was signing our cert. to adopt form an amazing 2 1/2 months ahead of schedule!! WOW!

I am NOT writing this to suggest that anything I did had anything to do with God working a miracle for us! Nope I simply took Him at His word, trusting that He is TRUTH and waited. Oh my, did He ever display His believability in an awesome way for our family!
1 Kings 8:23
and said:
"O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'll Become Even More Undignified Than This

Today is a day for such a song. If you've never hear the song UNDIGNIFIED by Matt Redman may I suggest that you buy it and crank it up REAL LOUD. Today I will be playing it in honor of my God and His lavish blessings which He pours out on me, His child. A child He chooses to love according to HIS FAITHFULNESS, not according to my faithfulness. Praise!

Here are some of the lyrics:
I will dance, I will seem, to be mad for my King.
Nothing, Lord, is hindering the passion in my soul
And I 'll become even more undignified than this,
Some will say it's foolishness,
But I'll become even more undignified than this.......

Folks hold on to your seat I am getting ready to report a bona fide MIRACLE today! Can you believe the Lord has seen fit to move our Home Study through the Arizona courts at lightening speed. After just over two weeks we have received approval when it was expected to take 3 MONTHS! Wahhhh-hooooooo! Rejoice!!

I was in the middle of an intercessory prayer meeting with a DEAR friend from church (all the other ladies had to cancel so it was just the two of us) and I got an annoying phone call which I didn't pick up....the answering machine revealed an untimely (or well planned distraction) call from a telemarketer. Ick! I hung up and the phone rang again. the Lord must have compelled me to answer the phone, because I had no intentions of stopping our prayer momentum when our social worker said hello and then my heart STOPPED! She informed me of the news and I was trying as hard as I could to cry silently while I was on my knees raising my hands to the ceiling in the 'woot-whoot' motion.

I am so, so, so humbled! Who are we that the Lord of all heaven should stoop so low to intervene on our behalf!? Oh but He does! He is so loving and faithful!!

I will be here all day. Dancing and singing praises. Making a fool out of myself in thanks to Jesus!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Who's Your Baby?

On the big Ethiopian Adoption Yahoo Group board (not the same as the AWAA board) some people were sharing the referral photos of their kids (our agency doesn't allow us to post pics until our kids are officially ours in ET for privacy reasons). It was strange to catch what could be a glimpse of how our referral photos might look. They weren't posed pictures. They were candid snap shots with other kids playing in the background. Poor lighting, bad angles, etc. NOT any parent's dream idea of the first image of their child they'll have to cling to, rest assured!

Now I may be a bit of a diva about this issue, but if I could have it my way I'd like a high resolution, quality pic. One with excellent lighting as well. I'll take a photo straight on please, and another with his head turned slightly (both left and right). Next, I'd like both side profiles (mug shot style please). Oh, and don't forget one smiling, one frowning, one laughing, .... and the back of the head too, for good measure. Finally, a full length shot would be important. An action shot would be appreciated, too, if you could swing it. For heaven's sake THIS is my son and I WANT to know what he looks like. All of him!

I have read the accounts of many AP (adoptive parent) who couldn't recognize their child's face when it came time to pick them up at the orphanage even though they studied every detail of their faces from the moment they got those first precious, albeit less than ideal quality, pictures in their hands. Of course I whisper to myself, "That will not happen to me." But, secretly I fear it a bit. It just seems plain weird that I wouldn't KNOW the face of my child. This child who I already have LOVED in my heart for so long now, but never the less a child whom I still don't know. I can imagine a guilty kind a betrayal feeling creeping over me if it were to happen for me the same as it did for those other dear AP's. Someone from our agency even blogged about entering the room on the first day at the orphanage and being asked by the care takers to pick their infant from among the bunch of children. Their's was a son, so naturally they never imagined that he would be dressed like a girl! It wasn't that the care takers were trying to be cruel, I imagine, but that for lack of clothes maybe they used girls clothes, or maybe they don't have the same ideas about colors which are traditionally girl colors in the US. They tend to put tights on all the infants to keep them warm from what I have read (they like to bundle infants up pretty warm in ET, much more than what we'd tend to be comfortable with in the US) Needless to say, they couldn't recognize their boy and so the care takers had to point him out for them. When I read that I nearly crumbled inside for that poor mother! I pray that it never affected her the way it would have if it would have been me. I pray that NEVER happens to us or any one else for that matter.

I am anxious to hear about the kind and type of photos those families who are with our agency have gotten with their referrals. I am sure they are all so giddy just gaze at an actual photo of their kids that they are not going to nit pick a thing!

this is all just a curiosity which was aroused in me today. I have nothing much to do lately but wait, so I expect that lots of weird curiosities such as this will occupy my mind for a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"Minor" Head Injury

Miss Allyse fell off the couch last night and conked her noggin pretty good. She managed to knock the wind out of herself and bang her head smack on the floor. Talk about my heart stopping. Ick! The sound of the thud will haunt me for a long time to come.

We took her to the ER to make sure everything was okay. Thankfully she has a good strong skull. No concussion.

Whenever one of my kids gets hurt it cuts me to the core! In a moment my world turns upside down and I think of mothers who have lost their children. (I can't even imagine!) There is a family that is dealing with the loss of their 19 year old son, nephew, brother, etc... and my heart was so heavy for them I just sat down and cried my eyes out. I couldn't say enough words in prayer or ask God enough to fill them will His comfort and peace. For as bad as anything may seem there just is no other option than the Lord. The only One Who can make a difference. I pray He makes a very powerful mark in that family's life during this difficult loss!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


We dressed up this kids for the first time this year and went door to door for candy. We have mixed feelings about this year's experience. Usually we bake cookies as a family and pass out candy but this year our oldest two girls really, really wanted to dress up. We talked with them about how scary some people choose to dress up and how some houses think it's fun to scare kids and that we were only going to go around to a few of the neighbours on our block (ones we knew had kids and wouldn't be scary). Then my SIL invited us to her church's Trunk or Treat event. So, we decided to go there figuring that it would be a safe choice. WRONG!

WOW, were we surprised by the costume choices of the church vol's who were passing out candy. Some were Gory, others just inappropriate for a family affair (like patients with their large fake plastic butts hanging out the back of their hospital gowns) witches and other weird things. Just NOT what I expected. I am NOT talking about members of the community who arrived at the event. I am talking about church families who volunteered to park their cars and pass out candy! Now, I know I may be more sensitive than the average American when it comes to my Halloween sensibilities but really I don't think I am overly sensitive.

I hate to feel that it's is better to shun the social aspects of the day and the great opportunity to meet neighbours and develop connections within our community opening the door to share Christ in our 'hoods but I struggle with a certain discomfort. I struggle with the question of where to draw the line. Let's face it most kids have lots of fun dressing up and getting candy and our kids have no clue about the darker undercurrents of Halloween so to them it's just a fun filled night w/ a few people participating who like to dress scary. (let's not get into all the history... I know it all and am not intimidated by it) If every Christian were to abandon the day then, truly, where would the light be!?

I am all for Churches taking the day and making a mark for the better. The question is how to do it? Can we enjoy Halloween without compromising? If a church decides to get involved in the festivities does it have a responsibility to be different or is it okay to conform to the culture? How should Christians make a mark on the holiday? Or can that even be done? Should they even try? Chime in if you have any thoughts!

We left the event with a sadness best expressed by my hubby, "How in the world are non-believers served by this event? What have they gained by coming to this church on Halloween?"

Definitely something I will be chewing on.

In the meanwhile feast on the adorable cuteness of our girls enjoying, in sweet innocence, their dress up day!