Friday, December 24, 2010

Cody

Every year on their birthdays I post something about one of my kids. Today my son Cody turns 25. I can't believe it! Was it only 25 years ago that you were due on the 19th but decided not to show up? That I just knew I was going to have a girl and didn't buy one boy thing? That on Christmas Eve 1985 in a nice little snow storm you decided to show up without your dad here? That the nurses forgot to give me my epidural and I had you "ah natural?" And then out comes this precious little boy!! And I sent your poor grandma on the hunt for something to bring you home in that wasn't pink. In many ways it seems like a life time ago but in other ways it seems like yesterday. On Christmas Day I brought home the most precious gift...you.
Cody we are so proud of the man you have become. Now you have a beautiful wife, a new son and a baby on the way and you have embraced them and love them with the amazing passion you have always had. We love them too!
Your true blue. One of the good guys which are hard to find. You say what you mean and mean what you say, just like your dad.
My prayer for you and your new life is that you will always put Christ first. Everything else will follow. God is your heart so if you truly listen to it you will never go wrong.
So Happy 25th Birthday to my Cody Bayer. I love you more than you will ever know!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Birth order and Bella

I just received information that a family who wants to adopt Bella and has all the requirements was told no by their agency. Why? Because their agency will not allow them to adopt out of birth order! I have always been outspoken about this issue. And though I see the concerns of adopting out of birth order I feel that should be the choice of the family not the agency. It is a heart thing. The family knows if this would be an issue or not.
And sorry if I step on toes but I think the birth order is issue is insignificant compared to what Bella and others children like her will face if they are not adopted.
The good news is this family is not taking this laying down! They are fighting it as they should. If they could transfer paperwork to the agency working with Bella they would but they would lose money and time.
Let me say again I understand the concern of the agency. And I am not blowing off the fact that some children would feel "displaced or replaced." But that should be discussed among the family. The family also needs to do their homework.They know what their children at home can and can't handle. If our family adopted again we would know what child could handle what and discuss it as we always have with them.
Please continue to pray for Bella and the family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bella

I am praying that someone who reads my blog will be Bellas forevers family. And if you don't mind please let your friends, family, church, work know about Bella.
The agencey needs a family who already has their paperwork in China for another child and almost ready to travel to complete her adoption. So please everyone spread the work and lets help Bella find her forever family.
Bella is 13 and lives with a foster family in China. She is pretty, smart and loves to play sports. She would be an amazing daughter. She needs to be adopted by February. Sadly in China once you turn 14 you can not be adopted...ever. So many older children all over the world are pushed out into streets with no money, no skills,  no place to call home. This isn't right. They are the ones who become victims of sex traffickers, gangs, prostitution and drugs. Everyday my friends this happens.
The other night my husband said he wishes we had a home big enough for all of them. And though my heart feels the same way I know that will not happen. But we will never say never...ever.
So I ask you first to pray for all orphans. And pray for Bella. Pray that someone will know this precious one should be their daughter. And pray for those who are on the streets who were not adopted. They have no voice in this world so we need to be their voice.
I have more information on Bella. If you meet the qualifications needed please email me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Need a gift idea for Christmas?????

The Hug Away Foundation
Give the Gift that Makes a Difference
This Christmas consider giving a gift that truly makes a difference. Your financial gift to the Hug Away Foundation will:
§  Bring a child home to their forever family.
§  $20 will feed a family for one month.
§   $30 a month will sponsor a child and provide them with food, an education, a opportunity to attend Sunday school and have minor medical needs met.
Consider becoming a partner with Hug Away. Your monthly donation will make a difference in the lives of families and children.
 Honor a family, friend, teacher, or co-worker with a financial gift in their name.  We will send them a card so they will know a donation was made in their honor.
This year give hope.
For more information visit our website at: www.hugaway.org or email us at: hugawayfoundation@cox.net


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why I Blog?????

People have often asked my why do I blog. Why do I put myself out there like that. I have journaled for years. And when I have read back over my journals I can see where I have been and where my journey in life has taken me so far. I can see where I have grown and where work still needs to be done. I can see who I once was, who I am now and who I hope to be. I have and will continue to learn from not only my journals but what others have chose to share. If anyone can learn anything from my mistakes, my ups and my downs most importantly my walk with God then putting myself "out" there is worth it.
I read a quote from another blogger and she said "A blog is a ride; it's an invitation to come take a journey with me." That pretty much sums it up. You can choose to ride along or not.
Everyone has a story. Everyone. I love to talk but I also love to listen and learn from other peoples experiences. After all there is no greater education than ones life experience. Most people that read my blog email me directly instead of posting a comment because they share things with me they don't want others to read. But I do love it when someone takes the time to let me know that what I have blogged helped them, made them cry or laugh or they could relate to it.
I do choose what I blog about. If it involves my husband or children I always ask them first. Even my 6 year old. After all what I want to share is part of their story too. Same rules apply for my facebook. And believe it or not I don't share all of my hurts or all of my joys. But those that I do share hopefully someone will learn from it, have a laugh, or know they are not the only one. And that is why I blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

I remember when I was a little girl I always wanted a older brother. Life at home wasn't that great and I had this fantasy of a big brother who would protect me and my younger sisters. My mother never wanted to have boys. She was afraid they would join the military. My dad wanted boys. He wanted a son. When I became mom to three sons I was so happy! After being the oldest of five girls I had a lot to learn about having these boys around! Wow what a difference! Wrestling tournaments, soccer, basketball, football, baseball even rugby. Yup, my world had gone from barbies to baseball bats.
Then God gave us three beautiful daughters through adoption. So I went back to the barbies! When my first son was born I was the younger mom and now when I take my youngest to school well it's fair to say I am not the youngest! The age difference between my oldest son and youngest daughter? 27 years! My grand kids are older than their aunt! Yes our family dynamics are good for conversation when we have nothing else to talk about.
My favorite thing about my kids? Their love for one another. My daughters have not one or two but three of the greatest big brothers anyone could ask for. They are very protective of them, they listen to the girls when they talk and talk and talk. And most important they love their little sisters deeply.
 And my sons have three beautiful sisters who idolize and adore them. They love it when they come to visit or call. And when the boys are not here they love to talk about them...good things!








I never had a big brother but my daughters do. And I know no matter what happens these brothers & sister, sons & daughters will always be there for one another.

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you,
as you are to them.
~Desmond Tutu

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Know

Who knew when I became a Christian 18 years ago the journey that God would take me on. God knew! As I grew in my walk with the Lord I had this sense that He had this amazing plan for me. OK I will just come out and say it "I felt special!" Like God and I had this relationship that was so unique and amazing that no one would understand if I told them. I had this feeling and still do a peace if you will, that God had chose me to make a difference.
OK, it's true that after a few years as a Christian I realized that it wasn't just me that had this amazing and unique relationship with God, it was all who believed in Him. And that makes me very happy but I was a little bummed, just a teeny tiny bit, that I wasn't this special "chosen" daughter of God. But God in His most wonderful, beautiful, silent voice spoke to my heart and said "Elaine you are special to me, you are my chosen daughter and we are going to make a difference." YES!
Not all believers have this relationship with God. You have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. You have to be quiet and listen (Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10) You have to ask Him what He wants you to do (Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3) You have to have faith! (Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen Hebrews 11:1) and then do what is right! (learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17)
When you ask Jesus into your heart you are born again you will spend eternity with God! How amazing is that? But that is not the whole story. He wants you to make a difference while you are here on earth.
When I understood all of this and chose to get up and put my talk into a walk my life changed in ways I could never have imagined! (Look at the nations and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5)
Because of the faith I have in Jesus I can say without any doubt that I know, that I know, that I know!
Pretty amazing huh?
Get up and make a difference! That might begin with you asking Jesus into your heart. Or if you are already a believer you may have something going on in your life right now that is going to take you choosing to make a change in your life. Baby steps you know!
Whatever it is I hope that you can say, I know, that I know, that I know.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankfulness

Like most this Thanksgiving I have been thinking about the many things I am so thankful for. As I went over my mental list I was overwhelmed by Gods grace. I am most thankful for His grace. I don't deserve it that's for sure. Besides His grace He has blessed me with a wonderful husband, three amazing  sons, three wonderful daughters, four, soon to be five awesome grand kids, my sisters, my nieces, nephews and the greatest friends anyone could ask for. And even though our youngest son who is a Marine and deployed will not be here for Thanksgiving or Christmas I am thankful that he is doing what God called him to do.

I live in a country where I can step out on my back porch and take a picture of God magnificent sky! I am free to say what I want, worship as I wish and vote. I am thankful for adoption! Yes I am also thankful for my home, my car and other material things but over the years I have learned that those things well they are things. God, my family, friends, my freedom are priceless.
John F. Kennedy once said  As we express  our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.
If someone has ever helped you don't just say thank you, go out and help someone. Give back! There is nothing more fulfilling that than doing for others. There are many who serve our country who receive nothing from home. Not even a note. Send a letter or/and gift box to them. I know they would be very thankful!
I pray that this Thanksgiving as we count our blessings we remember to pray for the protection of those serving our country and be thankful they do.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Pencil

It never ceases to amaze me how God can use the smallest thing to make a big impact in your life. While I was in Ethiopia I experienced many thing that changed me. But one small gesture from a young girl made the biggest impact on me.
One day while we were at the school we were handing out pencils to all the kids. We had the "cool" ones with sparkles, flowers, cars and basketballs. I was excited to hand them out because many of the children who had no sponsors had to borrow from the other children.
We had just handed out the last one when this little girl about 8 years old walks up to me and hands me back the pencil I had given her. At first I thought maybe it wasn't sharpened or the eraser was gone. It took a little bit but I finally understood that she was telling me she had a pencil and she shouldn't take the new one. She proceeded to show me her stubby little pencil. I stood there for a minute and then God spoke to my heart and said "she is trying to tell you that her need is met." This little girl didn't need anything more or anything less. At that moment something inside of me changed. I did convince this sweet girl that this was a gift and I wanted her to have it. I handed it to her, she smiled and walked back to her desk.
You know the saying "my life flashed before my eyes?" Well my did. It wasn't a "oh my I am getting ready to die" event. This was more of remembering how many times I have complained, moan and groaned and yes have gotten upset when I thought I needed more or wanted to do this or that and couldn't for whatever reason.
When we had first drove up to the school it made me sad. The fence and gate were pink and green and made of sheet metal. Once I got inside there was no toys or playground equipment. No pane on the windows. The desk were old and the classrooms had only a blackboard. There were no bright alphabet letters or pictures of the sun on the wall. It was just plain. Yet all these kids had greeted me with smiles and hugs and kisses. I thought to myself how can they be so happy? The answer is that they don't look at what they don't have they look at what they do have.
What if we all thought that way. I think the word is "Grateful. We always want more, bigger, better. We are always in a hurry and busy. But I bet if most of us took the time to look at what we do have instead of what we don't have, we would realize that we are doing just fine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hope for the Orphan

This is the video I put together from my trip to Ethiopia. This morning I was blessed to share during both church services about Hug Away, our trip to Ethiopia and the children in our Ethiopian Sponsor Program. The response was amazing! We still have many children who need sponsors. video

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sweet Voices

This was one of my favorite moments when we visited the school that Hug Away partners with in Ethiopia. These are our sponsor kids. They would sing whenever we would walk in the class room. This time I had them sing it over so I could get them on video! I hope you enjoy their sweet voices!

video

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Project Hunger no More

THE HUG AWAY FOUNDATIONS
“PROJECT HUNGER no MORE”
Her family needs help
For 20 days, November 4th – November 24th we are kicking off our “Project Hunger no More.” We are asking family, friends, and friends of friends and coworkers to donate $20 or more to help us feed the families of our children that attend the “Primary School of Excellence.”  These families and their children are not eating every day. Often the parent will go without food to feed the children. We are going to change that.
While I was in Ethiopia I spoke to the founder of the school because this has been on my heart for a long time. It has been on her heart to. She told me $20 would buy enough grain, oil, vegetables and staples to feed a family for one month.
As we approach the holiday’s I pray you will consider giving so these families will no longer go hungry. This project will be on going and our prayer is that many of you will feel lead to make a monthly donation. $20 and a whole family’s life will change. Not a bad deal at all. Please consider getting your school, church, work or club involved.
You can make your tax deductible donation by going to our website http://www.hugaway.org/ page or mail your check or money order to: The Hug Away Foundation, P.O. Box 1241, Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Thank you so much for your support!
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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Orphan

November is Adoption Month. This month brings awareness not only to the blessings of adoption but also to the millions of orphans in the world and yes that also means here in America. For those who know me this is my heart. From the moment we began the adoption process for our first daughter I knew God was calling me to be an advocate not only for adoption but for the orphan. The sad reality is that most orphans will not be adopted. Here are just a few of the reasons.
  • The child was older when they went to the orphanage...everyone desires to adopt the younger ones.
  • The child may have a special need.
  • They are a sibling group
  • People are afraid they can't afford adoption
  • Can't deal with all the paperwork
  • People like the way things are at home and don't want to rock the boat.
  • People are afraid of the "unknown."
  • People think they are to old to become parents
Here are some orphan statistics:
It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide
The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers… (The current population of Russia is 141 million)
Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone 
Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan
There are an estimated 14 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa (a number higher than the total of every under-eighteen year old in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland combined)
This figure is estimated to reach 18 million orphans in Africa alone by 2010 (only two and a half years away)
8 out of 10 children orphaned by AIDS lives in sub-Sahara Africa
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but… 
Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen
Each day 38,493 orphans age out
Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
In Russia and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen
These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals 
Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years
In America there are an estimated 423, 773 in foster care
Almost a quarter (24 percent) were in relative homes, and nearly half (47 percent) were in nonrelative foster family homes.
Almost half (49 percent) had a case goal of reunification with their families.
The majority of children left the system to be reunited with their families (52 percent).
Close to half of the children (46 percent) who left foster care in FY 2008 were in care for less than 1 year.




This little guy hung around the church we visited. The 3 days I saw him all he had to play with was a small plastic lid.

I always tell people that not everyone is called to adopt but as believers we are all called to help. Here is a list of suggestions for those who feel called to adopt and those who feel called to help.


 Called to Adopt
  • If you feel God is calling you to adopt trust Him and step out in faith! He will meet your needs.
  • Surround yourself with believers to pray for you and your future child.
  • Adoption is a roller coaster ride with your emotions! This too shall pass.
  • Look for ways to raise money. Get the word out.
Called to help
  • Encourage families adopting
  • Pray for families adopting
  • Donate to their adoption fund
  • Help with their fundraisers
Sponsorship
You can make a difference in the life of a child through a sponsorship program. There are many to choose from. We founded the Hug Away Foundation. For $30 a month a child will receive a education, food and have minor medical needs met. These kids are so grateful and you are making a difference in their lives.

 God builds families in many ways. Adoption is one of them. This month please pray for the orphans of the world. Pray for birth mothers who choose life and make an adoption plan and pray for families who choose to adopt.

 We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
by God's very own hands.
--- Kristi Larson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ethiopia cont'd & jet lag....

I confess, jet lag is not my friend. On top of jet lag I have picked up what I am sure is a air born illness from the puky plane air. But this to shall pass.
I promise I will not share my 1,000 or so pics with you! In order to limit the amount of pics I will post on here I have sat and pondered on what memories grabbed my heart. One that really stands out  was one of those moments when you sit and have to pinch yourself because you can't believe you are really experiencing this blessing.
My friend Kay and her husband John were missionaries in Ethiopia for several years. Their hearts are still there so they do a lot of independent work. One of these projects is called the "Well House." It is a Prayer and Counseling Center for destitute women and their children. They are building a new one but for now they have a temporary place where for the past year two women and one of womens daughter has been staying. The women are provided spiritual and emotional healing and they attend school to learn a trade so when they go home they will have a way to provide for themselves.
This day we drive about 2 hour drive to their villages. I had one of my infamous "esophogus spasms" and tought I was going to die but we will save that story for another day. Moving on. We were also going to meet some christian women in one of the villages and hear their testimonies about the "Cow Project." A cow is bought for them and after they do whatever you do to cows they sale them. They keep half of the money and put the other in the projects savings plan. So here we sit in a small church with I think a dirt floor it was kind of dark,  in a country far from our homes and these women come in and sit around us and begin sharing. Some were old and some were young and I believe most were Christians. As they spoke I looked around the room at these women. All so beautiful in their own way ( in Gods eyes we are all 10's!) and for the most part raised to submit to men because they are women and were not valued. I know each of them had a story, we all do and I would have loved to hear all of them. The common ground they all had is that they were women who made the choice to make a difference in not the best circumstances and succeeded! We could all learn from them. I journaled everyday I was in Ethiopia and each day asked God to reveal a verse to me that would coincide with that days events. That night as I wrote and the faces of those amazing women went through my mind and what they had to endure in a oppressive society God led me to Psalms 129: 2-4
They have greatly oppressed me from my youth. Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.
 Here in America we take so much for granted. If we could walk one day in one of these ladies shoes (if they have any) we would realize how very blessed we are. I wish all Christians could at least once have this experience. Stepping out of our safe little box is one of the greatest  ways to show God our faith in Him.
It changes you for the better and humbles you in ways you could never imagine.
Betty taking our picture! She is the daughter of one of the ladies we took back to her village.




Betty taking a picture of me taking a picture of her!


The church and the cows.







The beautiful and amazing women.

                                                   
                                                                                                                                                       

Monday, October 25, 2010

Forgivness & Ethiopia

I made it back and I thank God for watching over everyone that traveled. We were blessed on this trip and had no major ilnesses. Before I left for Ethiopia not only were my motives for going to Ethiopia attacked but who I am and why I blog was attacked. Since they were so bold to be so "blunt" as they put it with me I was "blunt" with also. As usual those who can dish it out can't take it. They are always going to be right and you are wrong.  I was shocked and hurt but after seeking wise council and much prayer I realized that I  had to let it go and forgive. If they choose to hate me for what I do that is their problem not mine and I will not allow their hate to stop me from doing what God has called me to do. My point? When God has called you to do something people for whatever reason are going to attack you so don't let them have the pleasure of seeing you stumble in your walk or you will miss out on an amazing blessings!
Ethiopia was amazing! The country and it's people will tug at every emotion you have
  • Sad for the extreme poverty.
  • Anger that for the most part women and young girls are not valued at all
  • Joy that they are beautiful people and that they are proud and that they love.
  • Happinesss that they smile through their hardships.
  • Mad that you can't do more
  • Hopeful that you because you serve a Big God that He will give you a way to make a difference.
I went there hoping to make a difference and I hope we did. But this experience made a difference in me. How humbling when you hand a child a brand new sharpened pencil and they hand it back because they already have one... a very short, stubby one but in their world they have one and their need is met for the moment. Or you give a young girl a plate of food and you see her put her 3 year old sister on her lap and give her the first bite. You give a mother on the street some food and the eyes of her 3 year old son that she carries on her back lights up and he motions you to them and thanks you with a kiss on the cheek. And as they take the food and run to the corner and sit down and eat you realize that you will never be the same.
I will be sharing stories like this for the next few to bring awareness to these children and how you can help.
I took like a thousand pictures and of course I am going to share my favorites!

I want to thank family and friends who support what God has called me to do. Your love, prayers and support mean everything to me.

Giving Adanech founder of the school a laptop donated by my friends Todd and Dayna! She was so happy.

My sisters sponsor child next to me and my sponsor child is on the left. Her sister is on the right.

Attempting to teach english.



 
This little girl has lost both of her parents to aids. She lives with her grandmother.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Walking the Walk

So here's the deal, I have a friend who founded the Hospitality House of Tulsa. This amazing ministry provides a place for families who live 30 miles or further from Tulsa to stay while their love one is in the hospital. I believe they provide for 14 hospitals in Tulsa and surronding area. This isn't just a room they are small apartments quarters. Meals are provided in the main kitchen. Not only do they provide a place and a meal but they provide support, prayers, care bags for the families while they are wating in the waiting room, and counseling. This is a home away from home. The care and concern doesn't stop when they leave. Staff or volunteers will call a church in the area where the family is from to make them aware of when the family is coming home and ask the church to provide things like mowing the lawn, taking them meals, rides or just checking in to make sure everyone is ok.
My friend shared with our Lifegroup that they did a survey (how they did this was a very cool story but I will share that another time) and every question they asked received high marks except the question asking about follow up from the home church. Bad marks, X,  0, a big red F! It didn't happen. Ditto. Nada. Zip. Not even a phone call.
The staff at the Hospitality takes the time to call and inform someone at the church what is going on and the needs the family will have and that someone agrees that the church will do this. This isn't a case of a letter that got lost in a stack somewhere. Someone the Pastor, secretary whoever verbally made a commitment, said that this would be done and it wasn't.
I was shocked and so was the rest of the class. There is no excuse for this....none. The ramifications from this could be devestating. If the family doesn't attend church and are not Christians what kind of impression do you think this would leave? Not a good one that's for sure!
People will watch our walk with Christ more than our talk about Him. Christians are suppose to be Christ like. I don't think He would be to thrilled with these churches right now. If I know my friend she will make these churches aware of what is "not" going on. Good! They need to be held accountable.

Matthew 5:33-37
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Under Attack

To say this week has been a challenge would be a understatement. What I have been called by God to do has been attacked and why I do it has been attacked. First let me say that you can attack me I will get over it but when you attack a ministry that God has called me to do then you are attacking God. Yes that's right God. What makes it worse is being attacked by someone you thought you were close to and love very much. This verbal attack made me question what God had called me to do and doubting myself. Sadly, this will probably give great pleasure to my "critic." But the pleasure will not last long because I know from years of studying by bible and Life Support classes that many times when you are preparing to do Gods work satan will attack in many forms and many ways. He will use people you love, thought were your friends and believed in what you were called to do. Through them satan will attack your mind, your heart and your spirit. This is when you put on the armor of God and prepare to fight the good fight!
I would like to hit on some of the point of attacks that I received to clarify a few things. Not only for myself but for others who are called to a ministry.
  • Its all about me. This person thought since I blog and facebook about my life and ministry that I was choosing to be in the lime light. Nothing could be further from the truth. How do you expect to us to make people aware? Are we suppose to just sit there and pray that people will know? Jesus commands us to "Go out into the world" not sit on your butts and wait for the world to come to you. We are His servants doing what He has commanded all Christians to do. It doesn't mean every Christian needs to be a missionary or travel the world. He can call you to help in your neighborhood, work in a ministry at your church that will make a difference in someones life, help the homeless in your town, be a mentor to a child, have a sports ministry, The list goes on and on. He is the vine and we are the branches. He has given all Christians a gift but it is up to you to find out what your gift is and use it. Don't waste it.


  • You think you can save the world. I have to admit this one made me chuckle. Who am I Superwoman? Gee didn't know I was such a threat or had so much power. That is a ridiculous thing to say or think. Only God can save the world! But do I think I can make a difference in the world. You betcha! Why would I be so bold to think this? Because the God I serve tells me that nothing is impossible with Him!







  • Always asking for something.  If I was Bill Gates I wouldn't ask for a thing. But I'm not so I ask. See some people have money and are willing to donate some of it to make a difference. I know people who don't have a lot of money but who feel led to give. In order to help others it takes money and that is just the way it is. And yes I ask volunteers to help me with fundraisers. I do a lot of the work with our ministry but my husband and I both believe if you don't ask others to help you are depriving them of a blessing, to be blessed and a opportunity to make a difference.





  • Other things were said and it hurt? It all hurt. I mean I had no clue that someone that I thought loved me as much as I love them could think these things about me and feel this way towards me. And of course when your a Christian and you confront someone who has attacked you that is the first thing they throw back in your face." Oh I thought you were a Christian." Like that makes it ok for you to say whatever you want to me but because I am a Christian I should just take it? Sorry but that is not the way it works. Now I am not going to slap you or curse you but I am going to be honest with you and then go back to focusing on what God has called me to do. In the bible David dealt with this.
    Before facing Goliath, David had to deal with a critic, his own brother Eliab, who said:
    "I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." (1 Samuel 17:28)
    David ignored this critic because what Eliab said was a lie. That's a good lesson for us. Turning his attention back to Goliath, David saw through the giant's taunts. Even as a young shepherd, David understood what it meant to be a servant of God.
    This is my story this week just a different time and a different place. The awesome thing is satan didn't win! I will keep doing what God has called me to do knowing that I will face critics from time to time but I will fight the good fight because I serve an awesome God!

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Mommy how do you......

    Last night Kennedy walked up to me and said "mommy how do you ask Jesus to come into your heart?" Now we had talked about this a few weeks ago and she said she did but at the time I felt she truly wasn't ready. I thought when she was ready she would know. Last night she was ready.


    I was busy working on some things for the foundation when she asked me. As soon as she asked she just crawled up in my lap laid down and looked up at me with this most precious, innocent, amazing expression and said Ok mommy I am ready." Yes she was.

    She never took her eyes off me as I explained this wonderful plan God had made for us called salvation. She took in every word. When she was ready to pray and ask Jesus into her heart it was so precious. After we said the prayer of salvation she had this big smile on her face and was jumping around! She said "momma can I go wake up daddy and tell him I have Jesus in my heart? Can I go tell Jordan? Can I tell Cameron?"
    It was truly something to behold.

    I thought how happy Jesus is when we finally say "yes I believe in you and want you in my life." Maybe He starts jumping around with a big smile on His face and wants to tell everyone! .

    Kennedy was born in Vietnam and lived in a orphanage the first 2 1/2 years of her life. From the moment I met her at the orphanage I knew that God had chosen her for our family. We were going to adopt from China and He took us to a precious little girl waiting for us in Vietnam!
    Kennedy in Vietnam

    
    
    God has a plan for all of us. Ask Him into your heart and be amazed! You may even want to jump up and down and tell everyone!!! I hope so!


    Kennedy 3 years later

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Our own kind

    I was talking to a friend yesterday about how hard it is to raise money for orphans. We run into lots of reasons why people choose not to give but the one that blows me away is "we need to take of our own kind here in America."
    I remember when we adopted Jordan a man at our church, a friend came up and asked us why we didnt' adopt " our own kind." Without missing a beat Mike said we did "the human kind!" Mind you I had only been a christian for about 5 years so this really disheartened me. That man never said another word to us again and eventually we never saw him again.
    We are all of one kind. We are humans and God created each one of us. As for helping children in the United Sates, of course they need to be taken care. No child in America should be without a family, go hungry or suffer abuse of any kind. No child any where should be subject to any of this. The difference is that there are literally thousands of agencies and people in America fighting for these children. They raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, some millions to fight child disease, hunger, abuse and to promote adoption. Do some of these precious children fall through the cracks? Sadly yes. But the facts are there is help for all of them.
    As for the many children in other countries this is not the case. We work in Ethiopia and if we do not try to raise the money to help them they go without food, water, clothes, shelter, school and die of diseases that are easily treated here in America. They have no advocates except for people like you and me that will step out of our box and help them.
    God calls Christians to go out into the world show others love and help those in need no matter where they are. Staying in a "box" does not do anything for anyone.
    All of us should step out of our box and go wherever God has called us. It may be Ethiopia, Vietnam or China. It may be in your neighborhood. Just go and do what He has called you to do. You will be blessed!

    One of our sweeties with her daddy waiting for a sponsor.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    My Sons

    I wanted to talk a little bit about three very special guys in my life, my sons. The reason I wanted to talk about them is because of a question someone asked me the other day.  When you have adopted children of a different race you are asked some very odd, rude and intrusive questions. But the one I was asked the other day actually stunned me. That is not easy to do.
    I was at a store returning something and the lady saw a picture of my daughters and we began talking about adoption. I told her that I also have three sons that were grown and on their own. She asked if they were adopted and I told her no. She looks at me with this "awww you poor thing" and says " So you adopted your daughters because you didn't want your sons huh? " WHAT????????
    Where in our simple conversation did I ever imply such a horrible thing? It took a second to but finally I looked her in the eye and said " No that is not the reason. We love all of our children the same and they are all gifts from God. 
    Yes I am an advocate for adoption and orphans. And yes you will see me post about those subjects more than others. But that has no bearing on how much I love and how devoted I am to my sons. They are not only amazing sons but they are also amazing brothers. They love their little sisters more than anyone can ever imagine. They carry their pictures around showing them off,  they brag about them and they are very protective of them. Our sons have big hearts, love their family and are never embarrassed to say it or show it.
    And their little sister feel the same way. They love their brothers so much! When they come over the girls get so excited and you would think it had been years since they have seen each other!
    So when I am out there speaking for those who have no voice, and trying to raise money for the foundation or trying to find sponsor for our children in Ethiopia remember I have three amazing young men who support what God has called me to do and I am blessed to call them my sons.




    Mike

                      Cody

    Dustin

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Chill

    Lately I have had this need to "chill." As much as I love my chaos I have come to realize that I just need to relax and do nothing. Doing nothing allows me to be quiet and enjoy time with God. No phones, computers, radio or people. Just me, my thoughts and God.
    My favorite place is the ocean but since one isn't close by my backyard comes in second. I love my backyard. It has lots of trees, it faces the west so I try to go out right before dusk and watch the sunset. I am one of those people who feel God when the breeze blows on my face or the sun is shining on my face. I see God in the sunsets, the moon, the trees, the birds. I hear God when I am quiet. He ask us to be still and know Him.
    Life is busy but that doesn't stop us from spending time on the computer, wathcing sports or going to the mall. Sadly most of us just can't seem to find the tme to be quiet with God.
    Since I have made this decision my attitude is much more relaxed. I have more peace. You know what they say "don't sweat the small stuff." I hope you will find some time to "chill" with God. 

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Asking

    If you read my blogs you know my husband and I founded the Hug Away Foundation. We are advocates for adoption and orphans. Right now my main priority is finding sponsors for some children in Ethiopia. We have 90 children and many are still waiting for sponsors.
    We have a website www.hugaway.org and a blog: www.titus3project.blogspot.com We also help the school they attend once they have a sponsor. I am traveling to Ethiopia in October with a friend of mine and we hope to add a kitchen to the school. For the time being the sweet lady who founded the school is making the meals at her home and carrying them to the school.
    One of the down sides to all of this is that I am constantly asking for donations, monthly donors,sponsors or having to come up with ways to raise money. I may ask 100 people for help and get one response. It is very disheartening at times. I often think I can't do this much longer and what is the point. Then God speaks to my heart and I am reminded that we have been called by Him to help those who need us. Everything we have is a blessing from God and we are to share with those who have little or nothing.
    I have found that people don't like seeing pictures or even think that there are kids who are starving to death, live in conditions unfit for humans, are targets for sex trafficker, or they are dying because they don't have a simple medicine that could save them. Yeah it is hard to look at those faces and to be honest it isn't my favorite thing to do. Let's face it denial is much easier. And asking for money, well I would rather have a tooth pulled. Uncomfortable? yes. Impossible? no. It is a step of faith.
    I found this quote and thought it pretty much said it all.

    ...orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.

    They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.

    It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms...

    .... but once you do, everything changes.

    So when you & I hear staggering numbers & statistics about the poor & needy around us & around the world, we have a choice.
    We can switch the channels on our mega T.V’s and continue our comfortable, untroubled, ordinary, church-going lives as if the global poor don’t exist.

    We can let these numbers remain cold, distant, and almost imaginary....

    Or we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the faces that are represented by these numbers.”
    -David Platt




    This is the sweetie I sponsor



    Give me your eyes for just one second
    Give me your eyes so I can see
    Everything that I keep missing
    Give me your love for humanity
    Give me your arms for the broken hearted
    The ones that are far beyond my reach
    Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
    Give me your eyes so I can see


    Brandon Heath









    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Chaos

    Can I just say there is never a dull moment at my house? NEVER!!!! I am not complaining, not at all. As a matter of fact I find the ongoing chaos amusing and I love it. I beleive even when I go to sleep during those few moments I rarely get of deep sleep, what is it called? RPM, RAN or REM? Whatever, it doesnt' matter I don't get enough of it anyway! But back to the point. I beleive that during those moments my sleep is chaotic!
    When I come home from work my dog who is usally the first to greet me at the door has this whine like he is trying to tell me the events of his day. Then instead of a hello the first thing out of Kennedys mouth is "can I?" Cameron gives me a beautiful smile an says "what's for dinner momma?" Jordan is just thankful I am home and retreats to her room and Mike needs to know if he has clean jeans and underwear. This is before I have made it all the way into the living room!
    If I am so blessed to get out of my scrubs and into something more comfortable and I am not in need of a 15 minute power nap it's off to make dinner where my faithful audience of 1 Cameron will help in anyway she can so we can hurry up and get the meal on the table! Throw in a few loads of laundry where on a good day I can collect up to $20 in tips! I use to give it back but after years of lectures on cleaning out our pockets they know better. With three girls you know there is a lot of talking, that would be mostly Kennedy with her many opinions and questions. Back to the kitchen to make sure we cleaned up everything and dream of the day the remodel from>>>> is done! Finish up a load of laundry, work on Hug Away and by 11:30 off to grab some of those RPM or REM things! And that is after I get home. Morning is another story.
    I would not have it any other way! I love my life chaos and all! My mornings always begin with a thank you to God for my life and time with Him. My day ends with a thank you to God and knowing how blessed I am.
    Some people need things to make them happy. I need my chaos :)
    Welcome to my world!

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    The Journey


    Jordan in S. Korea

    Most people think that when you adopt and the child has been placed in your arms that child's journey has just begun. They couldn't be more wrong. It started the day they were conceived. They have a life story. It may be short or very long. It may be a sad story or a happy story. Either way it is their story and it is important for adoptive families to remember this.

    Some children will take a short journey from their birth mothers arms directly into their parents arms. Some will travel half way around the world before they make it into their parents arms. And for some it will be a journey of ups and downs, some pain and doubts until they walk into their parents arms.

    The baby Jordan is holding will embark on this journey. We need to pray for all the children in the world who are waiting for a family. Let their journey begin.


    We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
    But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
    growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
    are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
    by God's very own hands.
    --- Kristi Larson

    .

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Birthdays, Family and a Lesson




    Today is my oldest sons birthday. He is 33. Michael has never been one to ask for a big party or expensive gifts. He just likes to have his family around a few friends and grill.
    When I was growing up I can't remember my birthday or my sisters birthdays ever being acknowledged. So I decided when I had kids I would make sure they had a celebration to remember.
    Now here is the deal. I just assumed all kids wanted big parties with their friends over and lots of gifts so I had an agenda! Taking the whole family to eat at any restaurant the birthday person wanted to go to. Seriously? And if I asked them what they wanted for their birthday and it didn't seem like much by golly I was going to add to the list. After all you need lots of presents to open...right? At times it was so stressful that by the time the party rolled around I was stressed, tired and couldn't wait until it was over. And if they asked for something simple like just dinner with the family I thought they were just being nice.
    Well, like I said today is Michael's birthday. He is very low key and mellow. He wanted to grill and have his family around. Last year he grilled for his birthday and asked us over! I found this very simple request to be refreshing and I enjoy myself so much more. Of course there is a lesson to be learned here.
    There isn't anything more valuable than love. There is nothing more wonderful than sitting around with these amazing people that you are blessed to call your family. And there is nothing more precious than when you realize how richly God has blessed your life. It is priceless.
    Birthdays are a celebration of the day God blessed you with life. There is not enough cake, ice cream or gifts that can top that!

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    I Give You My Son


    The other day I took my son to the airport knowing in a couple of weeks he would leave for his second deployment.
    You stand there waiting for his flight to be called. When it is time you look at him and smile. You will not cry! You burn his face into your mind and heart. You hug this man, your son so tight because you don't want to let go. You kiss his cheek (several times!) whisper in his ear how very much you love him, how proud you are of him and then you let go. You have done all that you can do as his parent. He knows he is loved, you pray and ask God to watch over him and bring him home safe. It is now out of your hands.
    You may not agree with the war he will fight, deep down you don't want to let go, but you respect him, this man, your son and his desire to fight for freedom. A freedom God gave us and men and women fight for.
    God bless those who choose to fight this fight for us everyday and God Bless America.
    I heard this song the other day and it touched my heart. Here are the lyrics to
    I Give You My Son

    My only son goes off to war, he's unafraid to live and die for a people who don't even know who he is, and I understand now just what you did.

    This is my son, my only son, and I give him up for a
    people who don't care that they're free at the cost of his life.
    I understand now your sacrifice. You gave us yours and I gave them mine.
    Lord keep him safe he's my only child. Please bring him back home. This is my son.

    I watched him grow into a man and I must believe he's now in your hands,
    Lord help me to keep in front of my mind that you gave your Son
    so that mine would have life.

    This is my son, my only son, and I give him up for a
    people who don't care that they're free at the cost of his life.
    I understand now your sacrifice. You gave us yours and I gave them mine.
    Lord keep him safe he's my only child.
    Please bring him back home. This is my son.



    Friday, July 2, 2010

    The Choice

    Ysterday I had one of the worse days I have had in a very long time. I am mad at myself because I let someone get to me. It had been coming for a long time and after a bad day I lost it. I came home to a family who loves me and let me for lack of better words stew in my juices for a while.
    I asked God to help me. This morning I went to my email today and found this from Max Lucado. It was just what I needed. We are all human and by no means perfect but God gave us the freedom to make choices. We need that reminder from time to time. Thank you God! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

    The Choice
    by Max Lucado

    IT'S QUIET. It's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

    In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

    For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.

    I choose love . . .

    No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

    I choose joy . . .

    I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

    I choose peace . . .

    I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

    I choose patience . . .

    I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

    I choose kindness . . .

    I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

    I choose goodness . . .

    I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

    I choose faithfulness . . .

    Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

    I choose gentleness . . .

    Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

    I choose self-control . . .

    I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Lethergo!! Part 2

    A lot of people email me or post on my facebook about my blog post instead of posting a comment here. And I had several request for more info on the "lethergo" post and the drawing.
    First the drawing. My daughter Jordan drew that picture not long after Kennedy came home. It is a picture of Kennedy and Amiya our granddaughter which makes her Kennedy's niece. Both their birthdays are in June and they are one year apart. They are best buddies and have so much fun together! One night Jordan was watching them and she saw how they obviously looked very different but acted so much alike it was like they were the same person. So Jordan drew this "silly" picture as she calls it of them playing and dancing. So that is the story about the picture.
    So on to "Lethergo." When we first become believers we are like babies who need milk. We are growing and developing our Christian walk. The word is our milk. We watch other Christians and see how they act and listen to what they say. As we grow up we need more substance. We read our bible, attend church and Sunday school. As time goes by we learn how to listen to His beautiful calm still voice.
    So we have learned what God expects of us. He wants us to love one another, help others, He wants us to lead others to Him, He wants us to do good and He also wants us to trust Him.
    Oohhhhh that is a hard one. Seriously, humans love to have control of things. To trust God and "lethergo" is hard. Very hard. To say "here is my son God, He is going to fight a war...., Here is my daughter Lord, she is only 15 but I am going to send her half way across the world to do mission work and Yes Lord I am going to start this foundation and leave my job and the pay that goes with it and yes I will fly to Ethiopia and anywhere else you want to go" and yes we will adopt again" isn't easy. But here is the deal and for most of us, including myself it is not fun to hear, If you are a born again believer you know that He wants us to trust Him completely. If we profess to be believers and we are past the "milk" stage then we have no excuse. It is what it is.
    When you come to that point, that crossroad where you know, that you know, that you know well quite honestly there is no turning back. You trust or you don't. Besides accepting Jesus into your heart this is not one of the biggest steps of faith you will every take.
    I am blessed to have come to that point in my walk. I can't sit here and tell everyone to trust and "lethergo" and not practice it. And yes, I still struggle and question situations at times and His answers are not always going to be the answer I would like to hear but here is the great thing about trusting Him completely, His timing and His answers are never, ever wrong. Ever.
    You know how it feels when you want to go for a swim but you put your feet in first to check the water out? Even when you totally trust God you will at times "put your feet in" to check things out but the question is will you trust Him and take the plunge?



    And those who know your name put their trust in you for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10