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