His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

Weather Underground

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Changes Are A Coming!

There is one thing for sure about life!  Change is a part of it!  I just look at our header and see the changes in the girls and it brings me great joy. :)

Soooo, what is about to change in our family? 

Well, for one.... Our son and daughter in law are moving back to Texas so he can begin his doctoral studies.  We are very excited about this change... and it appears Joe will be here this weekend and Becca and the boys will follow after a nice visit with her parents in San Francisco!

Three of the girls are starting high school this year, and one is starting Jr. High. 

Anna will be starting Public High School this year.  She is very interested in the R.O.T.C. program, and having a career in the military.  After much prayer and consideration, interviewing other parents who's children attend the school, soul searching, and wrestling over what is best for our sweetie,  we came to our decision. 
She was willing to abide by our final decision whether it would be to continue home education, or go to the school. 
We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for her as she gets used to being in such a different environment. 

Sarah and Alli will also be attending a Co-Op on Fridays where they will each take 3 classes.  They are excited about these new changes. 
Alli will be taking Texas History at the co- op which will free me from having to teach two separate histories. :)
Sarah will be taking writing, public speaking and American Literature.
Second Semester, they will be taking Multimedia Art. 

Erika was not interested in the Public High School OR the Co- Op.  She keeps herself quite busy and has so many other things she is already doing, including photography and guitar.

Anna is continuing with her Fencing Lessons and Alli will be taking TKD....at Co-Op, which she is very excited about.

I am excited about this new stage we are entering into.  Before we know it, they will be graduating .... it really does happen so quickly!

I never thought we'd be putting any of our children into school.... but here we are, doing exactly that! I pray that the Lord guides and protects our Anna as she goes off to school.  This will be her first experience in a school.  She even gets to take a school bus! 
She already knows a couple of sweet girls who will be attending also. 

Soooo!  Here's to all the changes about to come our way!

God is Good.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

That Button Pushing Thingy!

  • So today, we were hooked up to FIOS TV.... so we could bring our bill DOWN by 30 dollars!
    We don't watch TV at all.... so we decided to see what this FIOS thing would bring into our home.... How about several HUNDRED channels????
    I'm lost with the whole button pushing thingy.... and don't really understand how to find anything.. but we happened upon a channel that had Little House on the Prairie....THEN....there were the commercials.
    The first one showed this couple, OUR AGE, who were HAPPY to have all the kids gone and they were doing what THEY wanted to do!
    Erika was standing next to me and said, "Wow! How sad!"......

    I'm so glad she feels that way! I'm so glad that she knows how very much we love her and cherish each of our children and would never want them to just be "grown" so we could do whatever WE wanted.

    And now, we will let that button pushing thingy rest... and enjoy the cheaper bill.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Freezer Saga

                                     (All that was left was the rice and a brisket still on ice)

 Miss Alli wanted to make a pizza the other night. She had taken it out of the outside freezer and brought it in to ask.  I told her it was too late and she needed to put it back, and she could have a snack.
She did put it back.
BUT.... she didn't get the freezer closed all the way.
The result was rather disastrous.  All ice cream and popsicles that I had just purchased, were ruined. 
Pork roast, chicken, tenderloin, brisket, all thawed! and it was a slushy mess!

My first reaction when I saw the mess the next afternoon was, "Who left the freezer door open?" 
Then, I realized who had been in it the night before.....
So, I said, "Alli, last night when you put the pizza back in the freezer, the door didn't get shut and I want you to come with me and see the result."
She did.  And hung her head down.... "Mama, I am so sorry!"

If we step back about 8 years..... I seem to remember 2 little girls named Anna and Sarah who learned how to turn the freezer off!  They were playing and turned the knob.  Right before we were ready to leave for a church meeting I noticed liquid coming out of the freezer.  I thought it had broken.  We had a lot of frozen meat and veges, so Mike sent me to Home Depot to buy another one, so the food wouldn't be ruined.   We transferred everything to the new one, and then the next day, he looked at the old one and saw that ...... the little girlies had turned the other one OFF! :/
I asked them, (both were 6 years old)  "Did anybody turn that knob?" It was a knob I didn't even know existed!  And 2 sweeties said, "I did!" :)
"Let's not turn knobs like that anymore, ok?"  OK!
Mercy.... :)

Back to present day.....

I said to Miss Alli..... "Let's clean up the mess, and get the meat into the fridge." "We'll have a smoking party tomorrow!" and you can help me!"

She was still very ashamed. 
Was she irresponsible.... maybe.... maybe not.  Would it do any good to get mad?  No. What's done is done.
Would it help to ground her or punish her to make her remember to shut the door next time? 
No.... that would just bring more shame.

Instead, Mike and I talked and we decided to start using the LOCK on the freezer. You know that weird key you never use? We have had it on a hook for years.
So today, we locked the freezer.  Then we called our sweet Alli over and told her.... "This key goes to the freezer. This is how it is used.  If mama needs something from the freezer, it will by your job to get it by unlocking the freezer, getting it out and then locking the freezer back up." 
Do you think you can do that? "
She was beaming.... "YES!"

And so far.... so good! :)

(I did go ahead and get more ice cream and popsicles..... because I really wanted one. :) It is HOT!

Giving her that responsibility is good for her.... and I know she is going to take it seriously. 
In the mean time, she did a good job getting the freezer nice and clean.... AND we had a delicious pork tenderloin tonight for dinner. :)


 Now Really.... ! Who is Providing???

An area in my personal life that I struggle with is God's provision.  It seems silly, living in the richest country in the world, and worrying about God's provision.

But even in America, you can be poor, and you can struggle greatly with having enough for basic food, clothing, utilities and housing.

This was my life a long time ago.  There were many days that I did not eat so my children could.  Sometimes we didn't have the money to keep the utilities on. We struggled to make ends meet each and every day.  There were some very dark days that seemed they would never end.
And honestly, I was a happy person then, even in the darkest of struggles. I took it as  just part of life.
I honestly didn't realize how much my life had been effected by those struggles.

However, over the years, as times have become easier, I have found myself making sure there is enough food.  MORE than enough.
Enough to share, enough in case of an emergency and enough if there isn't an emergency. 
I found myself going to the store way more than necessary and buying larger quantities than necessary. 
I mean, who needs two 25 lb. bags of rice in the freezer?

For a while, I told myself that it was so we had extra to give!  And we DO give.  But inside, little by little, gently, the Lord was revealing to my heart that there was hidden fear and lack of trust in HIS provision for my family.

There is nothing wrong with finding things on sale and putting them in the freezer, UNLESS, you are buying those things for security. 

My security should rest squarely on the Lord, and I found myself NOT depending wholly on Him, and at the same time very thankful that He was providing for our needs.

So, I am facing a giant.  I need to remember every day that God is my source and He is the sustainer  of my  life.   The very thing that I know to be true, and teach to my children, I need to live!

So, here is to a cheaper food bill and a neatly organized pantry and refrigerator! :) With much less clutter.   There is more to this area of my life that I am needing to hand back over to the one who is in control of all things..... Oh this is freeing! :)

And the meditation for today is:
Matthew 6: 24-34

24“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.f
Do Not Be Anxious
25“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?g 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Oh Lord, help me to remember that you are in control. You provide.  You sustain.  All good things come from you! 

Final VBS Skit

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mercy Me!

It has been quite a week, and I still haven't posted our final VBS Skit!

VBS ended yesterday, and we had a wonderful time with all the kids.  Today was a day of rest; sort of.
It was also a day where everybody seemed to be out of sorts.  :/

That is ok.  Those days come now and then.... There was some drama.... and there was some good discussion.

In the End...Chickens were fed and watered, goats were watered, laundry was folded, rooms were cleaned, baths were taken, hair was washed and then,  there were "I Love You's, I'm Sorry's, and hugs......

All is well. :)

Time for a NEW WEEK! :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Kingdom Chronicles part 2

This has been so much fun for our Jr. High Sunday school class. So proud of the kids. :)
We are only doing skits one, three and five..... This is skit 3, but part 2 on my blog.
Today, will be skit 5.  :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Kingdom Chronicles!

VBS is this week! Here was our first Skit.... (Sarah is Ida, the lady who cares for King's Manor, and Anna is a messenger.  All the other kids are in our Sunday School Class, or the class next door. :)
The kids have worked really hard. 

There will be 3 skits this week! :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guess Who's Coming To Our House!!!!

Our Son Joseph, our Daughter  Becca, and our THREE grandsons, Sam, Truman and Felix.....
Joseph is going to begin the Doctoral Program at UTD this fall.  They have been living in Maryland for the last decade! 

I know it is a homecoming for Joseph... but brand new territory for Becca.  She is a Maryland girl!

I am praying that everybody's adjustment goes well and that Sam loves his new school! He will be a big boy in FIRST GRADE!

We are on the countdown now.... August 12th, Joseph will arrive in the car and on August 13th, Becca will arrive by plane! :)

And then.... we will all be together until their apartment is ready. :) 

Stay tuned! This is gonna be FUN! :)
And CRAZY! :)

I like CRAZY! :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gluten Free- Night Shade Free- Dairy Free Pizza......

A friend told me about a recipe for an alternative to tomato based pizza sauce.  I checked out the recipe, but didn't like how some of the ingredients were put together......

So I started to experiment....

I came up with a pizza sauce that I like. I could not tell it wasn't tomato based.... and neither could my family.

I used 1 small beet, roasted and shredded.  1 small carrot shredded.  I sauteed the carrot in some olive oil until it was tender, and added the beet and all these spices.
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
(all to taste)
I put it all in a blender and blended it to death. :)  And added water for better consistency.... ( to make it more spreadable)

The Pizza dough is easy.....

1 1/3 cup hot water
a packet of yeast
1 tsp sugar
mix all together and let it sit.

Add.... 1 tsp xantham gum
to 2 cups of brown rice flour and 1 cup of tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TLB sugar
Mix all together.... and knead until very well kneaded...
about 5 minutes by hand....
Roll in olive oil and cover to let sit and rise

Spread in well greased pizza pan.
bake at 400º for about 10 minutes.

After baking...
Add sauce, any toppings you like (that you can have)
and then add Rice Cheese.
I like the Mozarella rice cheese. It is very good.

Bake at 400º for about 20 minutes or until everything is nice, hot melted and the crust is duly browned. :)

I have not had pizza since last September because of a Night shade issue... ( no tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers of any kind ( except pepper corns)  no eggplant, or paprika)
This was so fun to have once again! :)
I really love experimenting!

If you try it, drop a line and let me know! :)

Paper Dolls

They have spent hours cutting out and dressing up their dolls in period costumes.    I am really glad we were able to provide such a fun activity for them. :)
Honestly, it can get so quiet I wonder if anybody is home!  And sure enough, I can go onto the porch of into the bedroom and find them creating and cutting out, organizing and making up stories.
Such good healthy play!

The Last Few Days....

I am recovering from reading a very difficult book.  And when I say recovering, it shook me to my core. 
Why?  Because I am a Christian. I am an adoptive parent. We home educate our children.  We have adopted Internationally and all of our children are "Social Orphans".  
I am a bulls eye target for this book.


One reason I wanted to read it was to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes we can surround ourselves with like minded people and forget there is an entire world out there....

Why did Ms. Joyce specifically target "Christian Adoption"? 

Most likely because Christians Adopt!  It is a part of our identity.  God adopted us.  We are to care for widows and orphans.... you know all the verses, and they are true. 
The Gospel is a gospel of Adoption!  We call to GOD saying Abba! Father!  Translated Abba means Daddy.

There is nothing wrong with adoption! It is a good thing.

In the Muslim religion, adoption is not even permitted! Not the kind of adoption we are talking about.
You cannot adopt a child and give them an inheritance.  And Muslim countries certainly do not allow Christians to adopt!

In Athiest countries, adoption is not a big thing at all.  In fact, under the Old Soviet Empire, doing good deeds for your neighbor was outlawed!  People starved, children suffered terribly and nobody helped out of fear of going to prison.
That mindset is slowly beginning to change, but not in time for many children orphaned in those countries.

I distinctly remember taking Erika into a restaurant in Kyiv.  She was wheelchair bound, and obviously had some physical handicaps.  A young man came up to us and asked, "Where are you from?"  We told him, and he talked to Erika for a moment.  He went back to his group of young people and asked them, "Where are all the handicapped children in Kyiv?" This is the first child I have ever seen and I've been here 2 years!" 
They looked over and replied, with a shrug. "Out of sight, out of mind!"
He looked discouraged. He was an American teaching English second language and had no idea orphanages existed in Ukraine.

Many of my cyber friends have adopted children, just like we have from these countries, and our children are thriving.
I do not think the book was about International Adoption as we know it.  We follow the laws, and
have followed our hearts, and God's plan for our families.
We, like many of you, we prepared ourselves for what adoption would be like with children from other cultures, and have worked hard to help our children adjust.
Some of us have taken children who were already here, where adoptions failed and that is especially sad. :(
But the children have thrived.


The book was about the dark side of adoption.  The side that we don't like to see.  But we NEED to see it, so we can make sure that God is being Honored in all.  Why Christian Adoption?  Once again, because Mostly Christians Adopt!  And there ARE wolves in sheeps clothing posing as "Christian".
And the very well may not be.
That is why we have to do our homework.

One thing that Ms. Joyce tried to touch on several times in the book was the Christian's view of suffering.  She doesn't understand it. 
My own personal view is that each of our children, this moment are right where they belong!   I have no question in my mind about that!  And yes, each of my children have suffered greatly.  But that does not mean their suffering was without purpose or that God loves to cause us to suffer!
The famous question, "How can a loving God allow such suffering?"  comes up. 

And all I can say is that I do not have all the answers. But God does, and I trust Him. 
I also know that God uses people, to fulfill His purposes and He cares deeply for orphans, widows and you and me.
Nobody is left out of that equation.

There has been suffering endured in our lives that seemed to make no  sense in it's time, but makes perfect sense now.  God is all wise, and I do not pretend to understand all He does or allows.  Oh how I wish I could see more clearly.

I wish this book did not have to be written.  I wish that the church were more willing to police itself and work hard to make sure things are done right!  I'm sure there have been many lessons learned along the way in the messy business of helping others.  I know I have learned a lot personally from my own mistakes in this same area.
If we were policing ourselves, this book probably would not have been written. 
Truth is truth, even in the messenger is not the one we wanted to hear it from.

Was the book heavy handed? Absolutely. It is written with a lack of understanding of the Love of Christ and how it changes us. 
Those of us who adopt children and love them before we know them... are like aliens  to those who don't get it.
Did I love our girls before they came home?  I would have to say yes, yes, yes and yes.
And that love grew, as love is a VERB. It is a choice to love.  

Did this book cover adoption gone wrong?  Yes. 
Some of those instances I have blogged about right here on this blog, and I don't disagree with what Ms. Joyce had to say.  But it is hard....

I know of a ministry getting ready to begin in Haiti, and I hope that before they get started, they will read this book, especially the lessons that Saddleback Church mentioned they had learned.

On a final note: Folks who work in adoption need to be paid for the work they do. 

 Adoption builds families and puts them together, but it should never be an industry.
Ms. Joyce makes her views of this very clear by using terms like supply and demand. I found that very offensive.   No parents I know have ever "demanded" a child, nor have they requested one be "supplied to them".   I sure hope this is a gross exaggeration to make a point ; it made it hard to get through the book.

And now, I'll go about the business of loving the family God has brought to me.

I hope and pray that my last 6 posts have not been offensive to anybody.  Please forgive me if they have.  My intent is never to judge another family or judge where they have adopted from, or how they have adopted.  That is between each of us and the Lord.

My intent was to critique a book and it opened up a can of worms that cannot be ignored. To ignore it would be like ignoring the Christian Leader who is committing adultry and saying you don't want to say anything because it might hurt  the cause of Christ, when in Reality, the cause of Christ is being hurt.

Please prayerfully consider how this kind of information can help you and what action it may cause you to take.

Friday, July 19, 2013

When Love Is A Foreign Concept: A Book Review Pt. 5

This is my final part of my book review on Kathryn Joyce's book, "The Child Catchers".  The previous 4 reviews are below this post. :)

The last chapters of the book are full of detail about how agencies, using unethical practices, cause so much harm to programs.  Several people are mentioned who have good hearts and see clearly that ignorance can go a long way in causing damage to orphans.  They have learned that changing the tide of adoption IN COUNTRY is a good thing, but a very slow process. Rwanda is mentioned in regards to this.  Encouraging the church to step in and help with orphan care has been in process, but it is slow and adoption is still needed, especially for children who have Special Needs.

There was also a mention about Christians who will try to skirt the laws, fill out false paper work, forge documents to get an adoption through at any cost, without considering the fall out of their actions. 
And I agree here... the fall out can be HUGE.
I remember our translator telling us about a couple in Ukraine who said when they were leaving the country that they would do no post placement reports and there was nothing that could be done about it.  That couple didn't realize that adoptions shut down for months, including our own daughter's adoption because of people like them, who refused to follow the law they had agreed to follow in writing!

The last chapter of the book is about those who have been adopted finding their roots once again.  It talks about children who came here from Korea a long time ago, and also how the mindset is changing regarding mothers raising their own children in a society that frowns strongly on single mothers having babies and caring for them. 

In the very last chapter towards the end.... Ms. Joyce writes,

 "Adoption may be a wonderful outcome for many families and many children, but much more often than we acknowledge, this win-win scenario is not the case.  Well meaning people can enable tragedy with their good intentions or their lack of understanding of what an adopted child needs. ..........the outcomes are often painful. And as those secondary adoptive parents who have picked up the pieces of failed adoptions can attest, for the child, a bad or an unnecessary adoption can be worse than none at all."

While I understand he statement, and certainly agree that an unnecessary adoption is worse than not having one at all..... the outcomes of our daughters who have come to us because of failed adoptions have been quite good.  This may not be the norm, but it is our norm.  That does not mean that we are blind to the loss our children have suffered.  Part of a successful adoption includes addressing that loss and helping a child through the grief process.  And when I say process,  it is  just that.  It isn't a one time thing like "Ok, you've grieved now get over it!"  No.    It is a part of life and history to be embraced and accepted. 

Overall, I think this book was VERY informative and I am glad that I read it.  There is much to discuss and much to think about. 
Christians need to clean up their act! 
One thing that was missing.... Christians are not the only ones who adopt.  But I understand the book was about the churches response to adoption.  It just seemed a little heavy in that area.  I think there are probably organizations out there, non  Christian who do the same things.  HOWEVER, that is no excuse for ANY organization to be unscrupulous.

Why did I call the title of my posts "When Love is a Foreign Concept"?  Because I think for many, they don't get why people adopt.  For some, they adopt for the wrong reasons, maybe to fulfill something in themselves or to earn something with God and they do not understand unconditional love.  For others who are looking to separate healthy families so they can make a dollar on putting another family together, they do not understand love at all.  It is a foreign concept to them.

One thing I do believe, and it may bother Ms. Joyce a bit, is the idea that God has adopted us.
It is true.  As Christians, we are adopted by our heavenly father.  This does not mean we have to adopt.  Some are called to adopt, some are called to live a different kind of life.  Every individual in the body of Christ is not supposed to do the same thing! 
Adopting our children has made the gospel even more clear to me.  But I cannot "SAVE" my children. That is up to God.
I can teach them what I believe to be true.   The rest is between them and the Lord.  God has filled our hearts with love for others.... it has spilled out into our lives through adoption... but not just through adoption. 
We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.  And who is my neighbor? 


When Love Is A Foreign Concept: A book review part 4

Whew... I have been doing some reading.  IT. HAS. BEEN. HARD..... 

I am saddened by what I am reading. 

The next part of my review will be on Chapter 5 of "The Child Catchers". 

If any of you have read my blog for very long, you know that we are Christians. We home educate our children. We are adoptive parents both domestic, International and International through adoption dissolution.  We are well covered in all areas of CPS, Agencies and Private adoption.

We are probably Kathryn Joyce's nightmare IF we fit into the stereotypical assumptions made in the book.  :)
But I  do not take offense at her observations.  They do not define my family.
I am trying very hard to look past assumptions to see what she is trying to say.  She has a lot to say.

Some of the concepts that are repugnant to Ms. Joyce in regards to God's ultimate plan, to suffering, to Spiritual awareness, to Christianity in general. We believe Jesus Christ is our savior.
However, WE cannot save anybody.   That seems to be a theme in the book that Christians want to adopt to save.  (both spiritually and physically)
We believe in the Gospel.  The Gospel can be spread in many different ways. It doesn't require adoption. 
Maybe what is misunderstood is what the Gospel is, and that it is not a set of religious rules but it is a life that is lived out according to the truth of Scripture.  No one can come to Christ unless the Spirit draws them.... we cannot save!  That is the job of God, and as far as I know, there are Christians world wide!

If there are agencies out there who are claiming Christ, and yet breaking the very laws of God without hesitation... lying, stealing, bearing false witness, (another kind of lying)  and more.... I would have to say they may be Christian in Name Only.  The scripture says, "You will know them by the fruit they bear."  Meaning.... if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck! :)
If an agency is unethical.... then, they are unethical and the Christian title should be ignored!
It is sort of like that plumber that puts the little fish sign on his business card and shakes your hand saying, "I'm a Christian!" And then rips you off.....in the name of Christ.

Any time I see a card like that, I start checking my pocket to make sure my wallet is still there!

In short.... YES! There are WOLVES in SHEEPS CLOTHING.... BE AWARE!  If anything, this book beats that drum all throughout and the warning should be heeded!

With that said,  a few of the adoption stories regarding Christian families who are Home Educators, who adopt, and who are followers of the likes of Michael Pearl and No Greater Joy ministries.... OH my...Yes, they made it into this book. 
Many of you know I have written many times about this type of mindset, and the devastation it can cause not only in a typical family, but especially in an adoptive family.   Ms. Joyce hits that nail HARD with the story of a family who lived in Tennessee and adopted something like 10 children from Liberia.  Only 3 of those adoptions remained intact, and it was not known if they were successful....
Her description from the eye witness account of the oldest daughter was heart wrenching. 
It made me seriously angry, not at Ms. Joyce, but at the following of False Teachers that leads to outright child abuse!  Of course the Pearls deny that their book advocates child abuse.... but whatever.
I have written about them here.

This brings home another concept that we MUST be aware of in the adoption community.... KNOW the country you are adopting from. UNDERSTAND the customs!  Understand the family structures!

This little girl was getting beaten for not looking in the eye, when in fact it was a sign of respect in her country.  She was in trouble for caring for her siblings which she had always done! 
The baby was beaten for going to her sister for comfort instead of the adoptive mother until her legs bled.  Gee I wonder why?
This stuff went on for years and the children were treated more as slaves than children, not being educated as was stated.
My heart hurts just writing this.  I had no idea. I know of the magazine put out by this family, but  have never read it.
They are Pearlites....
Of course the Lydia Schatz case was mentioned too, but just briefly. 

Ms. Joyce also mentioned one of the sons was sent back to Liberia where he now lives with his grandmother.  He is an American citizen, but cannot come to America without a sponsor. I don't get that at all. 
Since before the book was published, years had gone by and the family has since tried to reunite with children once rejected.   There have been huge issues still, of extreme control.  The older daughter has chosen to forgive and move on; a sign of her mature character.

But how many kids are DESTROYED by this kind of stuff?  MANY.
There is also much talk about RAD. 
I know Ms. Joyce does not understand RAD and wrote what she could regarding it... but frankly, RAD is over diagnosed.
The children in many of these families described were showing classic signs of Attachment Disorder and Reactive Attachment disorder.   Maybe more accurately, it can be called Grief and Loss.

And FRANKLY, in a family that is requiring complete control, including control over how you feel, I might just develop RAD.

She briefly mentions adoption disruption/dissolution, the Ranch and the "underground series of homes that take in kids for respite care and rehoming".  ( I do not like the word re homing.  It makes a very sad event sound much softer than it is.   Disruption is divorcing your child!
I do know that this type of respite happens, and there are respite care homes that are just word of mouth.
It is a part of the "Wild West of Adoption". 

I have made people aware myself when somebody was going to disrupt after all avenues of effort had been made to save the adoption.  But I am in no way an agent who advocates for disruptive families or those who want to adopt through disruption.

Both times that we have adopted from Disruption, our social worker and the original agency that the adoption was handled by were involved.  We never met an intermediary  who was not a licensed social worker.
We were introduced one time to a lady who wanted to adopt with no intermediary, and it was very uncomfortable.... too loose for me.

If anything, Chapter 5 should be read by all prospective adoptive parents to help them understand that they need to be PREPARED beyond food, housing and clothing.  They need to be prepared for children who are hurting, in shock, unable to communicate and more. 

THIS was the very problem that caused both of our sweeties to be labeled and disrupted.  We are the fortunate parents of two very bright girls who are flourishing.  It is hard work!  And if you are going to adopt, be prepared for HARD WORK and COMMITMENT, otherwise, DO NOT ADOPT!

More to come.....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When Love Is A Foreign Concept: A book review part 3

This book is tough to read.  The title of the book is "The Child Catchers".... this is my 3rd part.

Reviews one and two are just below this post.
I was accounting certain parts to my husband from chapter 4, and his response was, "Are these Christian Agencies?"   Some are listed. 
There are accounts, similar to the video I saw about Mosha and her baby brother who were adopted to parents in Amsterdam. 
I couldn't believe what I was reading. 
I believe it.  It is just so hard to read.

If there are groups out there, operating in this way, then we need to separate ourselves from them and declare that they are not from us.  They are not operating in love, and once again, "Love is a foreign Concept" to them.

One of the more disturbing accounts was about 3 little girls who were much older than the family was told. The family was told that the mother died of aids and the father was dying of aids.  They were shocked when they picked them up that they were well dressed, they had back packs with things, and they also had family photo albums of a large, loving extended family. 

It turned out, the girls WERE older, the father was NOT dying and the extended family thought they were sending the girls to get an American education. They did not understand that adoption is permanent. 
The girls were confused about name changes and the oldest girl has been devastated by her adoption, very much like Mosha, she no longer lives in the home. 

And the adoptive family has been devastated.  They thought they were adopting orphans. They weren't.

Another family was looking at a DVD of their possible future children. They asked for a translator to interpret.  When the mother was asked if she understood adoption, she said no... and the film was cut. Then, it came back on with her saying yes, and could she now leave to go back to her baking.  The family was very suspicious and the translator encouraged them to NOT adopt these children, as something was very wrong.  The family questioned the agency, and the agency wound up giving the children to somebody else to adopt.

Folks, if this is real.... this is heartbreaking, and it is NOT the fault of good hearted American parents who want to provide a loving home to an orphan.

I believe this is most likely the heart of why Ms. Joyce wrote this book, and we need to sit up and take notice as the church to make sure we are not aiding unscupulous agencies who are using the name of Christ to traffic children.

That must end.

I strongly recommend that anybody adopting internationally look into the agencies being used to make sure things are done correctly and according to the law.

I remember when we went to get Erika, she had never had any visitors. While we were in Ukraine, a new law had passed. Her parents had never visited even though she was less than 1 hour away.  Because they had terminated their rights willingly at the hospital, the new law stated they had to write a letter stating they were willing to allow Erika to be adopted.
This took place while we were in the country and had to be done by a notary.
I believe this was another step for Ukraine to make sure parents understand the permanency of adoption.
I have noticed that Russia often refers to adoptive parents as "foster parents". 
We are NOT foster parents. 
We are parents. Adoption is permanent and life changing.  Things had better be correct in the background paperwork! 

I'm still in shock from what I read.

When Love Is A Foreign Concept : A Book Review part 2

This is part 2 of a series of reviews that I will write as I go through the book "The Child Catchers" by Katheryn Joyce.  Part one is here.  And please read Katie's comment in the comments section of part one.  She gave a heartfelt view from the realities of Haiti.

Somebody asked me why I was reading it.  I am reading it because I want to see all points of view, and hear what she has to say. 
We are not perfect people, none of us are.  And if her book reveals areas that need improvement,  then truth be told, we need to take it to heart.  Truth is truth, no matter who the messenger is.

With that said, I was less than thrilled with the first 3 chapters painting such an odd spin on Christians who are involved in adoption.  I felt words were twisted to mean something different than intended.  And this can be a problem within the church. We need to be careful to use speech that is familiar to many and not rely "Christianeese" type speech. It can be grossly misunderstood.

So, lets move on to part 2.  I am in chapter 3 now.
In Chapter 3, it starts of with God's sovereignty and suffering.  Ms. Joyce does not understand how a family can say that an adoption was meant to be, or God had chosen a particular child for a particular family.  For somebody to look into a community of people who believe that God directed their very steps, which includes me.... looking at it from the outside, outside of faith, it probably does look weird.   So, we'll go with being weird. :)

The next part of chapter 3 mentions a young lady in the states who became pregnant as a teenager. Her parents wanted nothing to do with her being pregnant and she was sent to a ministry that works with unwed mothers. 
I have a real heart for this situation, and I think we need to look closely at the programs we support.
I love Crisis Pregnancy Center's ministry to mother's and children, and Catholic Charities ministries to unwed, poor mothers, married mothers and children. 
On one hand, if a mother goes to Planned Parenthood, they are going to encourage abortion.  "You don't want to have a baby, it will mess up your life, your plans for an education, your future."
If you go to Crisis Pregnancy Center, they may say, "Don't have an abortion!  You have a life inside of you!  If you don't want the baby, you can plan for the baby to be raised by adoptive parents."
OR.... they can say, "We will help you if you DO want to keep your baby.  We will help you develop a plan."

I think some ministries have it right.  If you want to keep your baby... we'll help you.  If you don't we'll help you in adoption.
The problem comes with coercion.  Putting pressure on a  mother to relinquish her child for the benefit of the child can be short sighted;  but not always, especially if the mother is an addict or has other major issues that would prevent her from caring for a child, or would put the child in danger.
The young lady mentioned in the book seems to fit into the first category.  Pressured.

But wait.... Before I can say the ministry that pressured her was wrong, and I think there is responsibility there..... the first wrongs came long before them.  There was a breakdown in her family.
I'll skip the part about not getting pregnant... that already happened.  But where is the relationship of the parents with their daughter.  Nobody wants their daughter to get pregnant outside of marriage, but if it does happen, the problem is not the baby!  Babies are always a blessing, even unplanned ones!
Why are grand parents not willing to help establish stability so the baby CAN have his mother care for him?
THERE is the biggest issue I see. 
I have seen it work well!  I have also seen things not work well.  I have seen the heartache and disaster that happens when somebody feels coerced.  It isn't something you just "get over." 

The book went on to describe some pretty bizarre behaviors from this woman who felt coerced to give her son to another family to raise, and it seemed to me that she crossed the line from self pity to down right selfishness, certainly not thinking of her son at all! 
She was only thinking about what he would think of her!
I can see why the family took out a restraining order.   They were concerned for the welfare of their son.

Laws need to be respected and taken seriously.  We live in a country where trying to get around the law when you decide you don't like it, is becoming more common place.  And scenarios just like this one are why many people seek to adopt outside of the United States!

God's laws are perfect. There is a reason that we are not to have sexual relations before marriage.
I can't help but think that out of wedlock pregnancy was not in His plan for good reason.... the children.
BUT.... we do not live in a perfect world.  We live in a very flawed world.  Christians sin just as well as non Christians. We all do wrong.  Agencies who intend good, can have flawed practices and I think Ms. Joyce is bringing that to the forefront of conversation. 
That is a good thing.  

Chapter 3 goes on to talk about Adoption Fraud, the kidnapping of children from poorer countries to supply children for infertile richer families. 
We need to pay attention to this very carefully.  I agree that James 1:27 says to CARE for Widows and Orphans.  It does not mean to separate children from mothers.  Programs like World Vision and Compassion International help children to stay within their families. 
There will always be social orphans who desperately need adoption, due to parents who are unfit to parent or don't want to both here and abroad.  As Katie mentioned in her comment.  It wasn't hard to take in a child the parent was threatening to kill!

I don't think Americans understand the concept of "poor".  Our "poor" are richer than most in the world.  When we are talking poor, we are talking about a child  who will DIE if they stay in their familial setting.  Until something is set up to help these families, and YES there are ministries committed to do this, adoption IS the best option so the children can live!
BUT.... Parents need to fully understand what adoption means.  There should be no coercion, no lies told, not recruiting from a family who would otherwise keep their child. 
These are practices that must stop.

I would like more documentation on what is written about Crisis Pregnancy Centers. They have a good reputation and I do not believe that they are wrong in giving the opinion that women should not abort.
If any of what she says is true, for instance a woman who aborted getting a card near the due date of her baby with red paint splattered on it. I would want proof of that.
I find it hard to believe.  If it is true, that kind of stuff is wrong and needs to stop.

I have had personal experience with both Planned Parenthood and Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
I was the poor girl who was having a 4th child. Married? Yes. Poor? VERY. 
The first time I went to get a pregnancy test was with our first son.  It went to planned parenthood because I thought they helped you plan your family. I was very naive. 
I couldn't understand their hostility towards me not only for being married at 18, but for wanting the baby I was carrying!  They treated me badly and gave me all kinds of info on why I shouldn't have a baby.  I left very confused and bewildered.
However, when I became pregnant with our 4th son, I went to the Crisis Pregnancy Center run by Catholic Charities down the street. My experience was totally different.
They were excited, and happy. They treated me with respect and said, "if you need anything, just let us know. We have cribs, clothing, food, diapers." 

I mentioned to them how different my experience was from Planned Parenthood and you should have seen their faces.  They were the ones that explained that Planned Parenthood does not necessarily live up to the name! :)

Ms. Joyce talks about biased counseling from CPC's, but frankly.... each agency is going to offer what they believe to be helpful and true.  I felt strong armed by PP, and supported by CPC, so really it is all speculation.

One thing I will say is that the cost to adopt a baby in this country is ridiculous.   I don't know the answers on how to change that, but I do hope it does change.  I am thankful for the dialogue.
It is eye opening.
Chapter 3 ends with the mother in the beginning of the chapter who's son was relinquished for adoption being prayed over, and in turn relinquishing her guilt. 
I feel sad for her.  I feel compassion for her.  And I pray that mothers who have felt the crushing anguish of their past decisions would also be relieved of that guilt, and forgive themselves.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When Love Is A Foreign Concept : A book review part 1

A few weeks ago, my son Joseph called my attention to a book by Kathryn Joyce called, "The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption".

Wow! What a title!  I admit that I was intrigued to find out what Ms. Joyce had to say.  So, I found the book at 1/2 price books and ordered it.

I am planning to write a few posts regarding this book, so please bear with me.

Let me first say that I was not familiar with Kathryn Joyce. Forgive me if you know her well.  Her writing has not crossed my path before, and as I continued to read I could see why.

I must say, I am doing my best to read this book with an open mind, because I think she brings up some very important issues, but her virulent repulsiveness for Christianity comes through loud and clear.  Her mocking voice can be heard near and far.  And it is honestly, causing me to have a hard time receiving any "truth" she might have to share.

So far, I have made it to the first part of chapter 3, and I can tell you that she is like a dragon slayer, trying to slaughter anybody and everybody with a lens that is not in focus. 

You see, Ms. Joyce, from what I can see has no understanding of what true LOVE is.  She doesn't get why people would want children that are not wanted elsewhere!
She doesn't get why the church cares about orphans!

She has some valid points in her first chapter about misapplied affections and skirting laws, but her virulent arrogance against anything spiritual just makes her claims fall flat.

Frankly, I agreed with her about the woman who went to Haiti and tried to take children to the Dominican Republic without paperwork.   I agree laws must be followed! I agree that Christians, or ANY organization involved in adoption should not skirt the laws, be deceptive, or take children just because they are from poor families..... I get that. And if they break the law, then, let the law take care of that.
I also believe that James 1:27 does not mean to care for the orphan and widow SEPARATELY!
It may mean to care for them TOGETHER, keeping families together!

But my agreement stops there.

I get a strong sense so far, and as I said, I'm only in chapter 3, that Ms. Joyce lacks true understanding when it comes to who an orphan is, and why folks like us adopt them!

Yes, each one of our girls are "social orphans".  Each one of them, as far as we know has a living parent or relative!
Ms. Joyce seems to assume that there are parents and relatives ready to jump from the woodwork to take children who have been abandoned or have special needs.
She makes a VERY FATAL mistake here! And I DO SAY FATAL, because many children DIE waiting for somebody to care for them.
In our own home, 2 of our girls were abandoned at birth, willingly, by their biological parents. Neither of our girls were ever visited, even once!  Yet, Ms. Joyce would say they are not true orphans.
Would she rather they linger in dying rooms until the inevitable? DEATH?
Does she see this as a better option than adoption? Really?
She doesn't know what she is writing about! I guarantee that! At least not in this area!

She seems to see adoption as a very negative solution, and makes it very clear that it is over simplified and the loss part of the coin is overlooked.  I can accept SOME of that sentiment. 
Clearly, an adoption takes place because a loss takes place!  There is joy and there is loss.
Their is happiness and their is grief.
Yes....these exist and co exist.

To be continued:

When Do Overs Become Natural!

Last week, we started back to school for 2 hours each day, to continue to catch up.  Miss Alli has done well with her schedule! 
Summer time is very much non scheduled around here, but I do see a need for a skeleton schedule just to make things work better!

Something though that I have noticed is how well the girls are using their time.  They are being creative and not being lazy. 

And it seems that this is a time for lessons learned to sink in too.  Just like play helps solidify things learned educationally, it must also be working for things learned emotionally!

I have seen some drastic improvements recently in a certain somebody's attitude when she needs redirection! 
Twice this week, she caught herself with a less than stellar attitude, turned it around herself, and came to get a hug and apologize! 
WOW! This is huge!

So, today when I was on my treadmill, I called her to come to my room.  She came, I'm sure expecting me to give her a new chore to do.... but instead she was praised for doing so well. 
"Sweetie, I want you to know how much I appreciate that you turned your attitude around and apologized! That really means a lot to mama!" 
She was beaming!  I managed to give her a hug while walking 3.7 miles per hour, and didn't fall down! :)
I also overheard her telling one of the sisters, "When you point there are three fingers pointing right back at you!" LOL  Yes, she is listening!

I think her do overs are becoming a very good habit! :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trials and The Elephant in the Room

I have wanted to write this a few times, but delete it thinking my blog is for family and adoption issues, not U.S. Race Relation issues or trials in the court. 

But, I have been so astonished over the last couple of days reading comments, finding out more details on what happened, and feeling very sad for a jury that did their very best under the circumstances.

Today, as I was driving down the street, I saw a young black man wearing a dark hoodie, head covered, talking on his cell phone with a drink in his hand.  And you know what?  He could have been Trayvon Martin.  And he has the right to walk down the street!  FREELY! Without worry!

I have served on a jury before. It was for an "attempted murder" trial.  The defendant was a black man in his 40's.  The victim was a black man in his 40's.  It didn't make the news.  Not one little line.

The jury is given information that is much more limited than the general public hears.  In sensationalized cases like the Trayvon Martin case, there was opinion being thrown out all over the internet, mostly inaccurate.  People hear something and run with it, rushing to judgment!
But in our country, we must remember and be thankful.... we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty!
The burden of proof lies with the prosecution!  If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at the prosecution for not doing their job! Or did they? 
Their star witness was a self professed liar.  Her testimony disqualified for any honest juror. So,  the phone calls were evidence.  After listening to the recordings of those calls.... they cancelled each other out. 
Both men were spewing judgment towards each other.

Both mothers claimed it was their son's voice on the recording..... that cancels out their testimony.

And what was left?  Mr. Zimmerman, with a bloodied face and wounds on the back of his head that would show somebody was on top of him banging his head into the ground.... and a young man, Trayvon Martin, who is now dead.

There was no question he was shot.  There was no question who shot him. The question was, did Mr. Zimmerman shoot him in self defense, or was it murder.  That was the question.
For it to be murder, there had to be intent.  The prosecution simply did not prove intent.

When I served on the jury for the trial I was chosen for, the outcome was the same.  We found the defendant not guilty.  There were no riots.  There were no bottles thrown, or calls for justice. We were not accused of being racist.  There were no calls from the Justice Department saying "something must be done!"  It was over. The jury had spoken, and I believe we were right.   Just because somebody dies, or nearly dies, that does not mean the person who caused the death or near death should spend time in prison!
You are allowed to defend yourself!

The only complication in this case that I can see is that Mr. Zimmerman did not do what the 911 operator asked him to do.  I believe he was wrong, but  I also believe Trayvon Martin was wrong to confront him.  He should have called 911.
Both of these men seemed to have anger management issues.

And now, there are  the "calls for justice" and those who drum up "race relations" trouble every chance they get, especially if they smell a hint of racism, are beating the drums of trouble.  Don't forget though, that 11,000  African Americans were murdered in the last 19 months.  ELEVEN THOUSAND!  Where is the outrage for them?

And that statistic only covers African Americans killing African Americans. 
I guess, if it is black on black murder, does it not matter to those who scream about injustice?
What could be more unjust than losing your life at an early age because somebody else didn't think you deserved to live?

So was this case about "civil rights" and "race"?  I really do not believe it was.  I believe it was an isolated case of an over zealous, police wannabe, who met up with an angry young man who was struggling.  NOBODY won!  Everybody Lost!  Let's learn from it.

As Americans, we need to be very careful what we wish for.  Getting mad at a system that assumes you are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty is insanity.    Does the system work perfectly? No it doesn't.  There are many innocent people in prison, and there are some who are not in prison that should be. 

Imperfect though it is, our system works.  We need to respect it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Life As We Know It....

Alli is doing well!    Tonight the girlies are going to sleep to "Honey I Shrunk the Kids!"
We haven't seen that in YEARS!

I Am thankful for all of our kids.  Our 3rd Son Joseph and his wife Becca, our 3 grandsons, Sam, Truman and Felix will be here in 3 weeks! :)
So EXCITED to have them HOME!

Joseph is starting the Doctoral Program at UTD... they are BACK IN TEXAS! Yea~ !

The Weather in Texas for the next few days it as a record LOW! We are Thankful for that!
Amazing temps for July!

Both Anna and I have chest congestion, not due to boat cover treatment, but weird weather!

Erika did an amazing job at church today with the conference slide shows. 
Sarah is doing well with the Vacation Bible School Skit, and we had a wonderful Pot Luck today too!

Our sweet Grand Daughter Ilse, is in the hospital with Pneumonia and we are praying for a healthy recovery for her.

LOTS OF LIFE going on!

Praying all our readers are happy and healthy!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Scary Night

It was a very scary 7 hours! When there is nothing you can do but wait, waiting takes forever, and prayers come easy.
Yesterday in the late afternoon,  Mike was putting a water proof repellant on our boat cover. This was done outdoors with plenty of ventilation.
Alli was outside watching.  She  came in and got ready for our special time. I took some of the girls to "retro" movie night to see Jaws on the big screen. :) Mike took Erika for a daddy daughter date.
Half  way through the movie, , Alli said she was nauseated. I figured it was the popcorn and coke, so I told her not to eat any more.
She didn't say anything else. When the movie ended at around 9:45, we were leaving and she started to cough and said it hurt to breathe. By the time we got home, she was breathing rather shallow, and labored. I called Mike  who immediately came home with Erika.
He said he was having the same symptoms, but much milder.
We called our doctor (who does answer his phone after hours) and he said to take her to the ER.

Alli had HIGH ANXIETY about going to the ER and begged us to please not take her. We reassured her that she would be ok, and we'd go to one of those small places where you don't stay over night.
We decided to take her to the smaller, local ER that would be less stressful for her.  Thankfully nobody was there and we walked right in.

When they checked her vitals,  her heart beat was 198, and breathing was painful, yet was getting enough oxygen. (not blue at the mouth) just pain. Her respiration was rapid and shallow.
The docs immediately brought her heart down with medication, a sedative and IV fluids. She was a trooper! 

Erika came with us, as Alli responds very well to Erika's touch.
Alli knows that Erika has had a lot of medical procedures, so watching IV's started and seeing blood was not a stressor for her. She didn't leave her side, at all.  
The doctor and nurses told Erika that she did an awesome job keeping Alli calm. :)  We are so thankful for her doing that, while we were filling out paperwork.

After an hour trying to get her stable, and the x ray coming back for chemically induced pneumonia, the doctor told us he wanted to transfer her to Children's hospital by ambulance. He told us to expect her to possibly wind up in ICU.

That was a chilling statement.

Auto Pilot set in, and we reassured her once again that nobody would leave her side. I went in the ambulance and Mike and Erika went home with the other girls.
And then, miraculously, everything started to settle down at about 4: a.m.
The meds started to finally work and the sedative with pain killer helped her be able to breathe without panic.

To our surprise, at 5:00 a.m. the doctor came in and said, I think the worst is over and it has run it's course. You can stay the night tonight, or we can send you home with meds and bedrest.

We chose home!
Alli doesn't even remember coming home or how she got back into her bed. LOL  Meds at work. :)

They let her keep her gown and bracelet. :) And she has been wearing it all day and resting.
Sweet clingyness has ruled the day, and though very exhausted..... I am so thankful.

VERY BIG LESSON LEARNED.... just because a label doesn't mention a particular hazard, it doesn't mean it is safe.
The Toxicologist said she sees this all the time even with household chemicals for cleaning.
The pneumonia will go away, the memory will be there, and the bonding that happened because of some fluke accident will secure her even further as a Minich.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Exploring Video Media

Summer is a time to explore and learn.  The girls are working on Video.  Here is their latest creation:

What I'd like to know is how does she know what an Americana is? LOL  And I like the fake key board. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cerebral Palsy

I was reading No Greater Joy Mom's blog and she was asking for those who had adopted children with Cerebral Palsy to post their blog address. 

I did, even though Tim is my bio son.  He is, but Mike adopted all of our boys.  So Tim is also adopted. 

Because I don't write that much about my older boys, I figured I would put a link here for a post about him.

On my side bar, you can find posts about Tim under "Timothy".....

But I'll link this one:

A Newsy Update

We started summer school this week.  We are just doing 2 hours, from 10-12.  And it is working out wonderfully! 
For Miss Alli, she is working 45 minutes reading, 45 minutes spelling and then 30 minutes of math.
She cheerfully started, and was even up early so she and Sarah could play barbies on the front porch before she started.

It is nice getting back into a routine.  Our kids seem to thrive on routine.  Today we had our library day too, and finished off the evening with our family worship time. 

We were talking about how the gospel impacts our every day lives, and then we read 1 Corinthians 13.  Anna made a profound statement.... "You cannot give something you do not have", referring to love.  She was so right.   

If you are not filled with love, you cannot give it!  If you have not experienced love, how will you know to love, or even how to love?

When I think about our children, who came to us, not understanding or knowing love,  I feel tears well up in my eyes thinking about where they are now!  They are full of love.  Each one of them.

Today, I layed down on my bed for a "brief moment".... (not)  and Miss Alli came in and layed her head on my stomach.  We both fell into a deep sleep!  I woke an hour later, and just looked at her beautiful, peaceful face, resting there, holding my hand, and felt like I had witnessed a miracle!
I didn't want to move.  I didn't want that moment to end.  It was priceless.

Tonight when Anna came up and spontaneously hugged me and said, "Mama, I love you so much!"
My  heart skipped with joy.  I was witnessing a miracle. 

Today as I watched Erika and Anna interact, making a  movie together, just loving on each other, laughing together and working well together... I was witnessing a miracle.

Today as I saw Sarah and Alli interact and laugh together, sharing sweet moments of sisterly love, I witnessed a miracle.

Tonight as I listened to my girls pray and ask the Lord for wisdom, guidance and discernment, I witnessed a miracle!

Love is alive in their hearts!  Our hearts of full of gratefulness, of what the Lord can do in in our lives.

We truly are living a miracle!  I am so humbled to be a part of God's bigger plan!

And.... our prayers have been answered once again!  We will be going to Oklahoma so Alli and Tatyana can see each other once again before Tatyana starts college. 

Please pray for the girls as they reunite, that the Lord will go before them and give them all comfort and understanding!  We are so excited for all of us!

I love days like this when Trauma has had no place..... But LOVE has RULED!


Hanging on for the ride! :)

Gluten Free M&M Cookies

Even though it is summer, we are baking! :)

                                                                   Gluten Free M&M Cookies

1 cup butter softened
2 eggs
1 TLB vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed down)

cream together


1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xantham gum

mix well!

add M&M.... around 2 cups or less or more.... :)
I also like to add raisins.

Drop by spoon full onto cookie sheet.  (give room to spread as they cook)

Bake at 375º until golden  (around 8 minutes?)


Monday, July 8, 2013

Dads Are Awesome!

                           Dads are LOVING and kind.  And can sleep through many things!
Mike is always ready to go out on the boat and drag girls across the lake on ski's, tubes and boards.
He works hard every day and is available 24/7 for counsel and back up! 
And he has gone shopping twice with a girl in the last 2 weeks! :)  CLOTHING shopping!

I am so happy to have him on my team! :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gluten Free Lemon Cake Recipe

                                                           Lemon Cake

2 cups Almond Meal Flour
1/2 cup tapioca Flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

2 cups of sugar
1 Tsp xantam gum
1 Tsp salt
4 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp baking soda
3 TLB vanilla extract
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups melted butter
8 eggs

1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup of lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients together
Add milk, butter, and vanilla and blend well.
Add one egg at a time and mix well between eggs.

Bake at 375º for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Cook cake

Poke holes in cake with fork or cake tester.

Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar to form a glaze.  Pour over cake and spread evenly.

This cake is WONDERFUL and is best served cold.

(recipe from Christie Minich)


Because, it leads to peace and joy!

Do you ever struggle with loving another?  What about difficult people? Do you struggle to love unconditionally?

If your answer is no, I'd like to meet you in person and shake your hand! :)

One of our sweeties was struggling with attitude.
We began to share with her  that all of our problems, no matter why, no matter what, no matter our past, no matter our present, no matter....... are quite manageable, when we are living our lives according to the gospel. 

It is a good thing for all of us  to look at ourselves and see why the struggle exists!  Are we being stubborn? Are we grieving?  Are we wanting control?  Are we allowing bitterness in our hearts?
Anger?  Hatred? 
Why do we want to "cling" to these, like well worn prizes?
Simple life, is sooo much easier, and HAPPIER!
And it just isn't that hard! 

Life is also the tablet  on which lessons are learned!  God uses our regular life circumstances to help us grow!  His word is our textbook.  Got problems?  The WORD has answers. :)

If somebody bothers you.... FORGIVE!  Why? Because you have been forgiven much!
If somebody has hurt you....FORGIVE!  Why?  Because you have been forgiven much!

We must live our lives according to mercy and grace. That means, showing mercy and grace to others, even in their imperfections, because we too are imperfect, and God has shown mercy and grace to us!

It is in our nature to try to "earn" love.  But God's love cannot be earned.  Unconditional Love cannot be earned! There is no way to "earn" it.  It is given without condition!  It is given with great cost!
That kind of Love changes us.

That kind of love will take the focus off of "us" and put it on what is best for another.  And guess what?
When we take the life lens and focus it on others, our eyes are removed from our own problems, and we begin to think about others first!  If everybody puts others first, the result is a gospel centered life, that drips with the unconditional love of Christ.   1Peter 4:8 says, "Above All, Love deeply, because LOVE covers a multitude of sins!"

Do you want to have joy?  LOVE.  Do you want to be satisfied?  LOVE. 

In the same way, that our response to the gospel of Christ, is to love the one who loved us first, walking in obedience to Him ; when we unconditionally love our children, eventually their response will be to walk in obedience.  They will obey out of LOVE, not fear. 
When we parent them according to love, they will know that they know that they know, we are on their side.  They will know that we are for them and not against them. 
It is a picture of the Gospel!

Scripture says that when we hated God, He loved us. 
He doesn't love us, because we love Him.  He loved us already! 

Oh to have the mind of Christ for our children.  If we want to teach them about love, we must live it, in reality, day in and day out....
And our children will respond.

But just as we, as Christians, can struggle with doing the wrong thing, and battle against sin, so our sweeties can struggle in the very same way.  Sometimes we can forget who we are!  Sometimes we can feel overtaken!   In Romans 7  Paul describes himself in this very way!  "I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I want to do!"  "Wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death?"
And that next verse:  25 says, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

We all struggle!   But God is in the business of changing us one little step at a time!  And that change is real and it is permanent!
We are not stagnant!  Discovering the gospel is NOT the end, it is just the beginning!

Just as Christ leads us to the waters of life through the Spirit and the Word, we can lead our children back to that place of love and safety. 

I know our sweetie truly does not like her sin. None of our sweeties do... and neither do we! She truly wants change, and I am so thankful for that!
So when she becomes overwhelmed, it isn't time for us to pull out the judgment tool. It is time for us to love her, pray for her, teach her and guide her gently away from the shifting sands of uncertainty and back onto the solid rock of Love; guiding her  once again, to grasp the Hand of her Savior, and help her to realize, He has been holding her hand the whole time.

In Christ alone, our hope is found!  He is our life, our strength, our hope, our joy!

This is much of what we had talked about this week.  And then, our sweet Pastor Justin hit a home run sermon this morning and solidified everything we had been talking about.  We are so spoiled to have such incredible teaching each week.

If you want to be truly blessed.... Listen to this sermon on the Gospel. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wylie Blue Grass Festival

We had a lot of fun at our towns Blue Grass Festival today.  There was also a car show, and we brought our Electric Leopard for display. :)
I love it that this was a community event and it was just so fun.  The girls could run around with friends and look at the cars and craft booths together, or just listen to the music.  There were some fantastic bands there.   One cracked me up.  "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Blue Grass Band".....
 The Pastor of the Local Lutheran Church was giving out water.   (he's the guy in the blue shirt)
 We saw may friends from our own church too!
 A Purple Charger
 The girls liked this one.

 The Shriners were there too giving out lemonade!

 There's my little leopard. :)

More friends playing blue grass.. :)

We had a fine time! Thank you Wylie Texas!

July 4th Celebration at the Lake

 That is me!
 This was Mike and I after jumping from the top floor into the lake. :)
 Erika, enjoying herself.
 Sarah Jumping
 Looking for the Boat House restaurant
 Sarah and Alli jumped together
 Anna took a dive!
 Anna and Erika on the beast.....

 Daddy on Skiis
 Getting a snack
 Exploring the lake
 Alli, doing an upside down cannon ball. LOL
 Sarah, ready to take off on the beast.
 Jumping again
 Mama up on skiis
Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!   Surprisingly the Lake wasn't that crowded!

You Are Still Holy