Thursday, May 28, 2009

In memory of my friend Rod

Today I found out that a very good friend of mine was killed in a car wreck last night. I am still in shock. This is not suppose to happen.
Rod was one of those rare men who was a genuine good guy. He was good, kind, sincere, sweet and always had a smile. Rod and his wife Angie were the most perfect couple I have ever met. When they looked at each other you could see the love and respect they had for each other. It always made me smile.
I met them at Korea Camp a few years ago. They have a biological son Tyler,and their daughter Hailey who they adopted from S. Korea. Every year they would come to camp and after a hug and hello they would ask what they could do to help. Rod built our see saw for camp. The kids love the see saw! Rod and Angie would help whenever and wherever you needed them and always with a smile. Their son Tyler attended camp when he was younger and then became a counselor, a very good one I might add! When Hailey walks into camp you can see the excitement in her eyes!
Today my friend left this earth and went home to his heavenly Father. I am not sure why Rod had to go, but God does.
A couple of hours after I was able to grasp the fact he was gone these thoughts ran through my head.
He left yesterday morning, probably kissed Angie good bye and told his kids "love you, I will see you this evening." All the time smiling that wonderful smile of his not realizing that would be the last time he would see them. Angie probably had plans for dinner and never knew that when she said good bye to him that morning that would be the last time. Planning a funeral for her husband was not the weekend she had planned.Rod was a very careful driver, so the other thought was "if this could happen to him this REALLY could happen to anyone." That quick.
Please say a prayer for Angie, Tyler and Hailey. Their grief is so deep right now.
Rod, thank you for showing me what genuine goodness is. You were the best of the best and you will never be forgotten my friend.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God Bless America!

Saturday morning I was up at 4:30 a.m. thanks to Dustin's dog who needed out. It has been a log time since I have been up that early. I needed to make a cake for a funeral that morning and then go place flowers on my parents graves, which is about a 25 minute drive.
I made the cake and headed off to the cemetery. I was blessed to see the most beautiful sunrise. I realized it had been a while since I had seen a sunrise. As I pulled into the cemetery it was early and quiet. I went to my dads grave first. He is buried in the Veteran Section. There were all the flags that I believe the boy scouts put up every year. As I walked up the little hill to his grave and saw all the American flags my heart ached for all of the men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we have in America and the families they left behind.
We remember them. We should also remember those who were wounded. Some are left without limbs, others burned, some are now blind, others with head wounds and they will never have the life they once knew. Then there are those who come back from war with the scars we are not able to see. Sadly many of these Veterans end up homeless.
America does not take care of our heroes they way we should. It is really disgraceful and sad. The very country they fought for often forgets them once they come home. No one is fighting for them.
Today at church my son was able to skype in and talk with us for a little bit. As I saw his face on the big screen a flood of memories hit me. Dustin has attended our church since he was 2 years old and now here he is 20 years old, sitting in a world far away, doing his part for freedom. Those who have watched him grow up are family to him. He wanted to thank them personally for their prayers and support. We were not sure he would be able to skype in so it was a surprise and everyone was so happy to see him! When Dustin was home on leave before he was deployed he was sitting next to me in church and as I opened my bible it fell open to Joshua 1:9 Have I not be commanded you to be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. I showed him the verse, we looked at each other and smiled. Nothing had to be said.
We had our grandkids over for the weekend. I am 5? and love to have fun and I have lots of energy but I am hear to tell you a 4,5 & 7 year old will wear you out! Mike made Koren food Saturday and that night we made cupcakes in honor of Memorial Day. Today after church we came home and grilled. It was so good! Afterwards we just hung out.
This weekend I took the time to appreciate sunrises, peace and quiet, kids, cupcakes and our vets. I need to start doing that every day of my life.
I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend. Remember freedom isn't free.

Labor Day

Monopoly time

His favorite place to be! ;)

Wore out

Brody Chillin and giving me the look

Memorial Day cupcakes

Jordan trying to force Cam to eat kimchee

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 3 G's

Mike coaching our Upward Soccer team. Kennedys in there somewhere!

I am sitting in awe of the 3 G's, Gods Grace & Goodness! Let me back up to five days ago. Mike and I had come to the realization that adopting again was not in the plans at least not for now. It was not easy to accept this. I have a lot of friends that have received a referral or waiting for one. Don't get me wrong, I could not be happier for them! But a little part of me wishes I was "waiting " also. But through prayer and quiet time, God gave me a peace that only He could.
So, I as I was coming to grips with this, my husband found out Monday that the shift he has worked on for 13 years is being shut down. He works the midnight shift. His choice will be working 4 10's with Thursday, Friday or Saturday off or Sunday, Monday, Tuesday off. I drop off kids and he picks them up, not anymore. Our whole schedule, my work schedule, kids school and activity schedule, no day care,and more has been based on him working midnights.It was something we prayed about 13 years ago and though it wasn't an easy adjustment it worked for us. We had just set up our schedule for the summer and this came up. We are grateful he has his job, very grateful, it is just going to be a really big adjustment. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you have no family around to help out it can present a problem. first "Elaine" reaction was to freak out! But as soon as I ran to God with this issue He spoke to my heart and said "there is a reason." Works for me!
Mike and I began to pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom. I also asked God for wisdom about Hug Away. The peace that God has given us on both of these situations is so, well peaceful!
I think sometimes we get a little comfortable and God needs to shake things up, get our attention. We look forward to seeing what God has planned for us. He never disappoints us and He never will!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, May 18, 2009

Being obedient

Today was one of those days that makes you smile. I have to admit that after 20 straight days of rain it wouldn't take much to make me smile! I am so grateful for Gods goodness. I love knowing that He is with me always.
A few days ago I posted that my husband and I were no longer "actively" pursuing adopting again. Well....An acquaintance who reads my blog let me know in a very nice way, that she thought we were not being very faithful. After all I am always writing on my blog about having faith and God moving mountains and believing He will provide anything we needed to do anything He calls us to do including adopting again. So why stop pursuing? Well...We do serve a big God and our faith in Him has never wavered and we do believe He would provide all we needed to do including adopt again, but believing and having faith also means that we know that there will be times He will shut doors or in this case leave it cracked open,even if it is something we really desire to do.
We have no doubt if God has another child for us He would confirm this in our hearts and we would move forward. But this is not the time. We wait on Gods perfect timing. As much as my heart desires to adopt again, it desires more to be obedient and please God.
We have a peace about this and that is when you know, that you know, that you know.
Yes I mentioned, money and time being tight, the house in need of repair and a car that is dying fast, but that would never stop us from adopting again. It never has. I was sharing those things to make a point. They need taken care of and that is what God has laid on our hearts. Who knows? Maybe He is preparing us for.....?
What my husband and I are sure of is that adopting again at this time is not what we are to do. And even though we would adopt again in a heartbeat, we are being obedient and faithful to His plans for us, not our plans for us.
Just to show you how awesome God is. Once we let go and accepted the fact there would be no adoption right now, my heart, which was struggling with what to do with the foundation was once again feeling the passion to keep it going. God will be glorified through Hug Away!
One more thing. During this time of wondering and seeking His answer I was blessed to view the files of 2 precious little girls in China. They both have heart problems and the one has some other issues. I was ready to fill out the paper work!It was very, very hard to say no and I still think of them almost every day. But we trust God and He has answered. There you have it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Small things matter

Jordan attending Award Day

I was talking to my very dear friend today about a gift her mom and dad gave me on my 50th birthday a few years ago. It was a small box and inside was some pretty purple paper, my name, a sweet note and a lot of quarters. This small precious gift impacted me in many ways. It had a purpose and it came from the heart.
My oldest daughter is very quiet and studies hard. She doesn't text often or talk a lot on the phone, she isn't obsessed with facebook. What she does have is a heart for serving others. She loves to help others in any way she can. She studies hard to maintain a 4.0. Last week this quiet girl, who does not draw attention to herself was honored with several awards at her school. One of them being the NJHS Service Award.
Why do I share these stories? To show others that small things matter.
Some people believe to make a difference you have to give the biggest gift, donate the most money, work on the biggest service project, be the loudest so you can be heard, be in charge. If you think this way you my friend have it all wrong.
My friends mom gave me a simple box with some quarters in it. A simple gift that had a huge impact on me and the way I see certain things. My daughter who quietly studies hard and serves others in her own small way because it is her heart and not for any type of recognition did not go unnoticed. Her teachers and peers noticed.
A few years ago for Mothers Day, my oldest son burned a cd for me with all of my favorite songs. One of the songs was very special because it was "our" song. It is my favorite gift from him. A small gift that meant a whole lot.
When Hug Away started out, in my mind to be successful I thought we needed to be the biggest and the best. Oh my, my, my. The lessons I learned from our first year. We raised enough money to offer four families grants. Oh I was so disappointed! I wanted bigger donors, so we could offer bigger grants and also help the orphans! The fact is those four grants, as small as they were made a big difference to those four families. We didn't have our "Hope for Orphans" ministry last year but I hope this year people will realize that $1 makes a difference when you add it up with all the other $1!
A kind word, an act of kindness, a smile, a hug, a small donation, just being there. These are small gestures that can make a big difference in somenes life.
You can make a difference in a persons life and in this world. Small things matter....a lot.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Matthew 25:35

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sometimes the answer is no

Many of my friends and family have been praying that we would would have confirmation from God if we are too adopt again. I believe I can say that we are not pursuing adopting at this point.
Many situations have happened in the last few weeks to confirm this in my heart. Am I sad? Of course. I love being a mom more than anything in this world and in my eyes the more the merrier! But God has given me six of the most wonderful kids, who bless my life every single day through good times and bad! They have taught me so much, most of all how to love unconditionally and enjoy the little things.
In my alone time with God these questions and concerns came to my heart. When do you say enough? Questions of time, money, college, my foundation. We are stretched thin on time and money. Our girls are busy, we both work, Mike has 2 jobs, the house is in need of lots of repair, my car will hopefully see one more year. This is reality. I have said over and over, our hearts will never be closed. If God decides at sometime we are to adopt again He will open the doors. We just don't feel at this point it is something we should pursue. I pray God will continue to use me as an advocate for adoption. I pray that the foundation will be a vessel that God can use not only to help families adopt but to also help the children who will not be adopted.
God knows my heart and that is what matters.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for this situation. Gods answer is always perfect!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When we follow our hearts

Today is my youngest son, Dustin's birthday and he is 20 years old. He is a Marine and serving in Iraq.It is his first birthday away from his family. He called last night to let me know he was officially 20 because they are a day ahead of us.;) He was in such a good mood and sounded so content. We talked for a while and after I hung up I thought "here is this young man thousands of miles away from home doing his part for freedom, it's his birthday and no one over there gives a flip, yet he is so content. Honestly, his attitude amazes me. It was then it dawned on me he is happy because he is doing what he was called to do! Dustin always wanted to serve his country. He knew that and he had a lot of obstacles to overcome to reach his goal. He had some health issues, but he knew, that he knew, that he knew this is what God called him to do and he would whatever it took make it happen.
I have been so disheartened lately. Hug Away has received only a few donations and I can't figure it out. I have been praying and pondering and thinking what do I need to do to make others passionate about this ministry. God spoke to my heart and said "keep going, do not give up." He knew I was thinking about throwing in the towel. He spoke to my heart and the passion returned!
I realize I could be doing a lot more to make this ministry all that God knows it can be. That changes today. At the end of my days I will not stand before God and say "I did nothing to make a difference." I want to hear Him say "well done my good and faithful servant!" My spiritual gifts is mercies. I mean it is the highest number on the spiritual gift chart. God gave me that gift so I could make a difference in the lives of families who desired to adopt and in the lives of orphans who will never be adopted.
My sink was backed up for 4 days and I was really put out by it. When we finally got it fixed I stood there cleaning out the sink truly appreciating the convenience and the sound of running water. As I stood there I heard God say "what about those with no water?" Here I was so put out because I couldn't run water in my sink and there are those in the world who have no water or walk for miles every day for dirty water.
I have said that we are not all called to adopt or even lead a ministry but as Christians we are called to do something! We are not put on this earth to just live and be concerned about ourselves. We are suppose to make a difference. I have friends who have so many wonderful ministries. God spoke to their hearts and they chose to do something about it and they are making a difference.
I know how easy it is to "feel" for the moment. I am the queen of tears when it comes to a song or video that touches my heart. I can sit with the best of them and think "wow, I am going to do something about this." But once the song is over or the video stops, then what?
I am praying for people who truly want to make a difference. People who will walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I want people to say "I can do this, I can make a difference!"
One of my favorite quotes is from Ann Frank and we all know the horrors she went through. But even through all the things that happened to her and her family she still had the heart to say "People who give will never be poor." Think about it. Giving doesn't always mean money. Yes we need it to help others but it also means giving of your time, your talents, your heart.
As I type this children are dying of hunger, disease and neglect and I truly believe some will die of a broken heart and a wounded spirit. They are being made sex slaves and sold like animals. As I write these words a child is alone, afraid and hungry. She or he have probably never known what it feels like to be comforted or loved, or how it feels to be safe. They never think about what they want to be when they grow up, because unless someone like you or I intervene chances are they will not grow up. The word "Hope" doesn't exist for them. There are families who have been called to adopt who want to open their hearts and homes to a child but are thinking "How? We can't afford this?
I am asking you to pray about what you can do to make a difference. Don't sit and think, pray, get moving.
Yesterday without even knowing it Dustin showed me what contentment was. It is doing what you were called to do and doing it with joy and passion.
Happy Birthday baby boy and thank you for teaching your mom a wonderful lesson.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day




Jordan, Cameron, Kennedy

Gifts from the heart

Mothers Day is always a little bitter sweet. Twenty years ago on Mothers Day we brought home our youngest son Dustin. His birthday is May 12th. Now he is half a world away serving our country and my oldest son Michael is working in New Mexico. Forty five years ago today on May 10th my grandmother, my moms mom died. Twenty one years ago was the last Mothers Day I would spend with my mom. She had just been told she had lung cancer. My mom died a few days after Christmas that year.
Today was just sweet, today was perfect! It began last night with a web call from Dustin, then I woke up this morning and there on the front porch was a dozen pink roses and a card from my son Cody, my sweetheart made breakfast then we were off to church.
The blessings continued! The first three families I saw at church have adopted and one just received their referral and it just blessed my heart to see them. After church we went to lunch with our very dear friends and Cody also joined us. We had a blast! When we got home I was changing my clothes and Mike yelled for me to come downstairs. The girls had me sit down at which time I was handed a handmade card and tiny snickers bar from Kennedy :) then Cameron gave me a beautiful book of poems she had made me at school. She even missed a few recesses to finish it! Jordan handed me a card that had instructions to go to a place where she had hid a small box. I opened it and there was a ring I had really wanted in a Premier Jewelry catalogue. I was so surprised. I found out that Jordan along with Mike, my friends Dayna, Natasha and Sydnie had helped with this surprise. Then my son Michael called and we talked forever and one more call from Dustin. And how do you end a perfect day? My kitchen drain has been backed up for 4 days and Mike finally was able to fix it! Whoo Hoo!
I am sitting here counting my blessings and just thanking God for a wonderful husband, awesome kids and great friends.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Consider this

I am asking anyone who reads this blog to consider making a donation to the Hug Away Foundation. We have several families needing our help and not enough funds to offer them grants. My prayer is that if every person who reads this blog would donate $20 or more we could help these families and if we raised enough we could use the rest for our "Hope for Orphans" ministry.
You could make donation in honor or memory of you mother for Mothers Day.
I am praying and believing this will happen. Please visit to see how you can make a difference. God Bless!

In you the orphan finds mercy.
Hosea 14:3

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Healing Hearts

Turn off the music on the bottom of this page before you start the video.

As most of you know God has been tugging at my heart about adopting from China, specifically a child with heart problems. Now will this happen? I am not sure I have put that in Gods hands. When you tell people about this desire in your heart some will give you the "awwwww" look, others look at you like your nuts and then some will pretend they didn't hear you. What most people don't understand is that a child with a heart problem should be our heart problem. Imagine this, your child, your most precious treasure on this earth needed a surgery to save their life but you had no way of providing that surgery and now your heart was breaking also. Yeah. There are parents just like us all over the world who love their kids just like we do and would give their lives for them just like we would but they do not have any way of getting them this life saving surgery. Then one day because there were people like you who cared they are told their child has a second chance with a life saving surgery. I am sure you would drop to your knees and be so thankful, grateful and hopeful.
I have said it a 100 times and I will say it a thousand more, not all of us are called to adopt, but if you are a christian we are all called to help. You can make a difference, you just have to put your prayers, thoughts, words and yes money into action.
If you have $10 or $10,000 it doesn't matter once you put it all together it all adds up!