Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Friday, December 27, 2013

What do Lashae's wedding dress, building tools, pencils, sweeties, toothbrushes, a branding iron, cowboy boots, chicken ropes..... all have in common? 

 They are all headed to Uganda with my man.

Lashae's wedding dress was just an incredible gift from the Lord.  She wanted one we could not afford and someone unanimously paid the exact amount that it took to stay within our budget.  We still have no idea who...but it is the gift that just keeps giving because now it is headed to Uganda as a gift to be worn by a beautiful bride.

 When Lashae heard that Mercy, from Redeemer House staff, was getting married she was flat giddy about sending her wedding dress.
  We got it cleaned up and vacuum packed, and it is on it's way.

This is the darling couple.
 They love the Lord with their whole hearts, they love each other, they are both passionate about the care of orphans...and God brought them together.
 His timing is perfect.   He is just so good.

I'm pretty sure when Charlie gets to heaven he will recognize some faces that are from other nations and tribes.
  It just doesn't get any better than that.  

Revelation 7:9-10

English Standard Version (ESV)

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Can you tell Charlie has been here before?  This is Patrick, in the cowboy hat that Charlie left for him last year. 
 This guy loves anything "cowboy".
He is all cowboy at heart.
Charlie has a few things to add to his "cowboy" collection. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Birthday Party Favor

Yep...this was the big Christmas surprise.  While Charlie is headed to Uganda...we are headed to California.
We are so excited..
Warm Sunshine!

Claiborne is flying in to join us!!!

Thanks again Jesus....what a great party favor!!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

God's Blessings

Colossians 1:15-20

The Message (MSG)

Christ Holds It All Together

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
*emphasis added by me*

  A few years ago Charlie and I began to pray for God to allow us to be a part of something He was going to bless,
rather than praying for the Lord to bless everything WE had going.

We actually prayed it out of total frustration with our lives.  
We felt we were just banging our heads against the wall in so many areas.

 Our God answered  and continues to answer that prayer over and over in many amazing ways.
I love how God can take us and a desperate prayer... and mold us and make us into something He can use.

 He has placed our undeserving messed up selves and plopped us in the middle of some crazy amazing things
  He is blessing.

There are so many....I will just give a bloggy shout out and praise to God on the top 3: 

 *our kids, the lessons, the love, the miracles, the blessing, and the community, the growth*

Redeemer House
*the families, the ministry, the kids, the staff, the relationships, the miracles, the country, the culture*

Shiloh Ranch Cowboy Church
*pretty much everything about it*

I seriously can NOT get enough of this church!!
  I love the people, the worship, the sermons, the pastors, the food, and the coffee.
I even love the welcome speech and the announcements!
 I sounds like craziness...but it is completely the truth. 
I get excited like nobodies business to go to church every single week.  
I get all in a yank if I have to miss even one service.
*Not one weekend, we are talking ONE service! ha
We seriously try to hit them all, and there are 3 in a weekend,
and this week there are 5 because it's 
 ( EEEEEK....I can barely hold it together).

We never want to miss because we might miss somebody or something if we miss a service.  lol
AGAIN....totally telling the truth.
I feel at home there.  I feel like it is a little slice of heaven.
I feel LOVED.
  I feel
 God's BLESSING!!!
His power and His presence.  

I can not express the love and the peace and the
 that comes with 
God's Blessing!

I dare you to pray,
"Lord, I ask YOU to allow me to be a part of something 
*and then hang on...or rather...let go, and let Him do His thing.

Really....this is just a more gentle way of saying,
"It's not about's all about YOU and I want more of  YOU!

I fooled myself for way to long and thought it was about me and what I wanted and needed and once I gave it over
...(even if it was in total frustration)...
He could work with that and blew me 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Are you ready for Christmas?
  This is the question that kills  me
at this time. 

 I can be such a scrooge.
 I'm not good with planning.  I am not creative.  I hate shopping.  I'm usually quite broke.  I hate when my jeans are too tight.
 I don't like cold weather.  

Getting ready for Christmas contributes and reminds me of all these shortcomings.

This year I have especially struggled with all the Christmas preparations.  I just got back from Uganda, and Charlie is headed there 2 days after Christmas...when I look at what they have there and I look at the excess that we have here...I just haven't been able to get myself in the mood to get
 "ready for Christmas".


I listened to a podcast recently that got me pumped for Christmas.
*I'm sure the people around me are glad that the spirit finally hit me.* 
 It gave me the motivation to celebrate Christmas.

 It talked about keeping our focus on Christ.
WHOA!!!! lol
It seems so obvious, and yet...I get off track so easily.

 I know we all know this and we say things like,
 "Jesus is the reason for the season",
but it is a struggle to keep the focus there and really celebrate like we believe that, because there is so much

It talked about EVERYTHING we do for Christmas should be only about Christ...if it's not...don't do it!
This freed me up in amazing ways...and spurred me on at the same time. 

My hope this year is to keep my focus on the
 Birthday KING!! 
 As crazy as it is...all He wants for Christmas,
 His birthday,
 is to spend time with us. 
He wants us to be in His presence...come to His party.

Celebrate HIM!!!

 He wants His kids to come to Him for His Birthday and


  He wants our worship and He wants all our gifts and talents...even if they are not creative. 

I will still celebrate Christmas, but hopefully leaving the hustle and bustle, and the stress and the guilt  and the overspending, and the overindulging out of it,
 and take time to be with the
 Birthday King
 and celebrate with
 worship and deeper relationships and cookies
...because when I eat cookies...I feel closer to makes me thankful.  :)

Yes, I have even bought a few gifts, but I have tried to keep in the front of my mind....
 this is all about.

At the same time we are "getting ready for Christmas"...we are also getting Charlie ready for Uganda, and that my friends makes it easier to keep things in perspective.

Our family will have a fabulous Christmas. 
 We are going to celebrate . jeans are already too tight...ugh! 
I have an AWESOME Christmas surprise for the kids that is going to be so memorable and fun. 
I feel like it is Jesus party favor to us. 

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!!! 
 Thanks for inviting us to your party!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Summing up 2013

I have not been sleeping well AT I get up and spend time with the Lord...which sounds very spiritual...but a lot of it is just because nobody else wants to spend time with me at 2am.
 Just being honest.

One sleepless night I was asking the Lord for a verse to sum up 
 and this is what I got:

Romans 8:38-39

English Standard Version (ESV)
 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I will never fully understand this kind of crazy love...but I think I have a wider glimpse into this verse after this year.

  Jesus has lavished His love on us.

  We have lost loved ones this year and we have walked closely with people that have lost loved ones and its crazy to me that in the midst of death, God's children can feel so loved and they are so well cared for. 

This year has also encompassed a few new additional treasures to our family.  Yippee us!!! 

One is in he is raised and we just get to enjoy the benefits of another amazing son.
 One more treasure to call me "Mama".
 Every time..EVERY TIME...I hear it or read it on a text from him...I just beam.  He has "chosen" to call me that.  Blesses me to the core.

The other treasure we added to our bunch, is younger and still needs a lot of
 "intentional parenting".

 We didn't have a lot of prep/prayer  time for this all happened very quickly. 
 I'm grateful for that, the waiting can be the hardest, but I also feel like I'm "winging it" a lot. 

 With any adoption...especially of older kids, it takes a giant leap of faith and then you do this constant dance of one or two steps forward and one or one and half steps backwards.   
Our guy has seen his share of heartache in his young life...but his heart is tender and pliable and that is only by the grace and love of our almighty Father. 

God has been so gracious to us and to our new treasure.  

Before I went to Uganda, I could tell he felt very unsure of the situation.  When you have abandonment in your history and your newish mom is leaving the comes with some big fears.

Here is how God's grace covered all:

  As I was gone...he really stepped it up and Lashae and him bonded in a way that wouldn't have happened if I had been here. 
 He helped out and loved on Maubry and that blessed Lashae in big ways.
Lashae got to know him and love him like the awesome big sister that she is, and Maubry got to know him as an uncle.
Also, before I left...he had never told me he loved me....and since I've been back...he has said it everyday. 

 He has taken a giant leap forward.

Only God's amazing grace can use the thing that a person fears the worst to grow them and teach them to 

Isaiah 61

The Year of the Lord's Favor

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;[a]
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lordthat he may be glorified.[c]
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

I have seen and experienced the faithfulness of God and His unwavering love.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013 Highlights

At the beginning of this year...I felt like the Lord gave me the words
 "bear fruit".
 There is so much in His Word about bearing fruit. 
 The verses that I just kept coming back to though was this one:

Jeremiah 17:7-8

English Standard Version (ESV)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

At the end of 2013, I can say with a little more confidence...that I understand this verse a bit better.  In some ways it has been a year with some real hot areas...and even some droughts for us, but in the midst of it all, the Lord has allowed "fruit" and we have a better understanding of
 our trust is.

 I am so thankful.

These are my treasures.  I am so incredibly BLESSED!!!

Some of the 2013 highlights:

*Chaney, Lashae, and Maubry moved to Montana*
*Claiborne - our college treasure joined our family forever*
*Mikiyas - Our newest treasure came into our family forever.*
*Charlie turned 50*
*We had an incredible Redeemer House Reunion*
*Charsie got her driver's license*
*We learned we are expecting another grand baby in 2014*
*Reece started school*
*I went to Uganda*
*Charlie is going to Uganda after Christmas*

There is so much more....but these are the milestones for the year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ministry: A Heavy Heart

 I have had so much on my heart.  

I have been reading and meditating on Romans 14 and I love how The Message puts it. 

Romans 14

The Message (MSG)

Cultivating Good Relationships

14 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2-4 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6-9 What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10-12 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
    “every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
    that I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
13-14 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.
15-16 If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!
17-18 God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.
19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.
22-23 Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.

As Christians we are all on mission our lives everywhere we go everyone we talk to. 

 If Jesus truly lives in us....He shines wherever we go.

  We don't get to decide when and where to let HIM out, there is no switch to turn on or off.

Too many people think of  only "missionaries" as on a mission.... and the truth is, it is  all CHRISTIANS that are "missionaries", on a mission. 


  There is no mission field more important than another...

when we are at home = we are on mission

on vacation = mission

in a foreign country = mission

at school = mission

at work = mission

Our mission is to love God and to love people.

It is to go and make disciples.....and how we do THAT,
 is to LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE wherever we the kitchen or to Uganda.  :)  
 The only way to love people is to tell them about Jesus.  
To love them is to let them know 

 For some of us....God has allowed to travel to carry out our mission...and this is an awesome privilege...but that doesn't mean when I'm gone, I'm more on mission than I am right here in my kitchen on all the other days of the year with the people God has put in my life right here at home. 

Also...just a side note...I think there are MANY MANY more that are invited to carry out their mission all over the world, but they don't "GO".  They are missing out....God WILL get His will accomplished.....and what a joy if you say
and go outside of your familiar and comfortable zone and join in that work.

 I praise Him for letting me be a part of His work here and there.  

Sometimes people in ministry can get very caught up in their "ministry" and how they do it and what they do. 
Notice...the "they" in that sentence...people looking at themselves instead of God.
  Trusting in themselves and not trusting in God.

 It is part of the human condition I suppose.

  Comparison, opinions, and criticism.

  As usual God's Word has all the answers of how we are to deal with one another and the work that God has set before us.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Uganda Update

Matthew 5:13-16

English Standard Version (ESV)

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I have a testimony, not anything I have done...but what God has allowed me to be a part of.

At the beginning of 2013  Charlie and I sat down with Chaney and Lashae and some friends and we talked about what was on our hearts for the year 

All of us had the same thoughts, but in different situations.  We all asked the Lord to allow us to be a part of something He was going to bless, and that it was on our hearts to deepen relationships.  To be transparent and to
 "let our lights shine...even if there were sparks".  

When you dig deep with people, life is messy.
  People have problems...all of us do.  And when you open yourself up, and love on people that allow themselves to be's going to set off sparks and it is going to sting.
But, what I have learned is when you stick it out...and you press in...with the Lord and with people...the sparks light a fire and the fire is warm and inviting.

God has been abundantly gracious to me this week.
He has allowed me to be a part of His work and His blessings in 

Here is just a taste of some things the Lord has done:

I have spent time with my sweet friend Lisa and her darling baby.  
She got saved when I was here a year ago.  
As only the Lord would have it....she is now working at the guest house that I am staying at.
Every time I come in and out of this place, I am greeted by my friend and her darling baby.  She gets so overwhelmed with excitement at times that she gives me a full body hug...out of nowhere.  
It blesses me and makes me laugh.
Mark, her former muslim husband, NOW CHRISTIAN,...also works here and has brought me a beautiful basket as a gift.  

My mind can not wrap around how God could plan things so 

Also I have spent a lot of time with my Ugandan  teenage son, Simon, whom I adore.

  We have spent every waking moment together. 
 We have had good devotions in the morning together and we have had good talks in the evenings.
  I have given him my very motherly talk...that I give to my boys....  :)   and he informed me in a very respectful manner....that in Uganda the mothers do not talk of such things.....the fathers talk to the boys and the mothers talk to the girls...I told him I am his American mom and we do talk of such things.
His Ugandan father is passed and his American Dad is not he would have to listen up. 
 He cracked up and listened intently.

 So he has it down pat...NO GIRLS!!!  UNTIL he is done with school and then he will maybe meet a Christian girl, if that is what the Lord has for him, and then he may get married and live a godly life with His wife to be an example to more Ugandan men. 
 You rarely see families here that live together and work together and raise their kids together and go to church together.  
He can be an example to so many.  It is needed everywhere in our world....but it is desperately needed here.

It has been a year of so many changes and hardships and unknowns with Redeemer House, and yet God has been so faithful to be with us in every storm, and
God is pouring out His blessing abundantly.

There will always be hardships with any kind of ministry or relationship this side of heaven....but one thing I know to be true and have said it 100 times this week....




God has blessed me beyond what I could have imagined at the beginning of this year, and there have been many times throughout the year...that I could only see the hardships in many situations....but this week I have seen 


John 15:15-17
English Standard Version (ESV)
15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Oh to be a friend of Jesus!!!! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blessed and Thankful

The best week of the entire year.........

Dec. 2, 2013
Happy Anniversary to my Bofriend. 
We have been married for 24 years today.  
I knew when I married him it would never be a boring life....and that part I got right.

My man is driving me to the airport today to put me on a plane to
  I can't think of anything that describes "US" better than that.
 We work well together.....we are on mission together, but rarely "together"....we meet each other and support each other coming and going.

We go lots of directions, at different times, but overall...headed the same direction... and usually have "our time" on the way.

I love this man and the life I have with him!

Yesterday was Reece's 6th Birthday! 
 This kid brings me more laughter and more gray hair than all the others combined. 
 His passion is unstoppable! 
He was so excited about going through the birthday "spanking tunnel", that he turned around to do it again.

Reece will change the world...mark my words....we are just praying in the name of Jesus that he uses all that passion for the
 Glory of God!!!

Thanksgiving alone gave me much to be thankful for.  My parents hosted a wonderful day with lots of
 family and friends and food!

This is Jordan and Reece and they are the best of cousins and buds.   
Here's the guys that grew up as best friends and then 23 years ago became brother in laws.
Just another sweet gift from God! 

My sister and I who get to be married to these two guys. 
 We had a good weekend together; eating, running, talking, cooking, cleaning and bossing lots of kids around.

I also had the privilege of getting baptized this weekend. 
I have to say....I wish I had had a better attitude going into the whole thing....because as usual....when ever you step out in faith....God gives abundant
 Grace and Blessing
to meet up with every step. 
He went above and beyond.

As it turned out.....lots of people got baptized in our church yesterday....people I look up to and admire and  are leaders in my life and in my walk with the Lord, and also people I have had the privilege of being close friends with for many years and some I have been friends with for a shorter time. 

 Every single baptism was so significant and individual and personal....
just like our relationships with Jesus.

To Him be ALL the GLORY!!!!   

Finished my day with family and friends gathered around to pray over me and SEND me out.