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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy Chaos

Psalm 9:1-2

The Message (MSG)

    I’m writing the book on your wonders.

I’m whistling, laughing, and 
jumping for joy;
    I’m singing your song, High God.
This is a picture  full of many "God stories" and "God blessings" and "God relationships".  

From the photographer, to the timing to the people and the place that it is taken...
this photo has A LOT going on.

 We met Jessie, the photographer, in Uganda as she was adopting her Ugandan daughter from Redeemer House.  We hit it off the minute we met because she acts just like "sister Susie", Charlie's baby sister.  :) 
 Charlie and her began teasing each other about 30 seconds into the relationship. She and her crazy awesome family came for the Redeemer House Reunion and she took our family photo, along with about 1000 other photos to capture the weekend fun.
She is not a huge fan of horses and they were literally breathing down her neck as she was taking these photos. 
 She is a brave girl, she is fun, she is a super great photographer, and she is a wild woman for Jesus.   

Claiborne, the amazing jumper on the left is now officially our son.
 He has been "Kole's brother" since they met each other at school last year, but I wanted him to be my son, not just Kole's brother. 
 When we knew we were going to take family photos...I bought him a t-shirt and told him straight up, "Family photos are like a covenant to me, once you take a family photo you are in for life, no backing out." 
 I gave him the choice to make the commitment or not, and he took the leap!! 
 He if officially "in the family". 
 Can I just point out what a stud he is.
  Look at that JUMP!!!! 
 I love this kid and he is stuck with us for life. 
 There are some "adoptions" that take longer to bond than others, but this kids was instant for me.
 I love him with my whole heart and he is stuck with this Mom forever! 
 I would even bribe him to talk to me this summer.  He liked my chocolate chip cookies and he had to give me 10 minutes of conversation per cookie.  I have a lot of years of "catching up". 
 I want to know my kid.

God allowed for Lashae and Chaney and Maubry to come and spend a week and enjoy the reunion with all of us and it blessed me in so many ways I can't get over it.
  To have all my chicks in the nest for a few days at the same time and to celebrate with them and to have them be able to be here for a family photo and participate in the reunion was almost more than I can take.  
I don't know why God is so good to me....but HE IS!!!

I have named this picture: 


I love how the Lord does not miss a moment.  He uses EVERYTHING for His Glory!!!

I want to give Him all the praise for how he brought all this crazy family together! 
 We are messy  and scattered and CHAOTIC, and HE can EVEN use THAT.

Romans 8:28

English Standard Version (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Amazing Race

God is just so good!  

He answers prayers.  He knows our hearts. He knows our personality and He is just plain FUN. 

*I can't understand people that think Heaven is going to be boring and they have to fulfill a bucket list here on this earth.


 I'm all for doing fun things on this earth, but the most fun  on earth will only be a teaser compared to the fun we will experience in Heaven. 

 I'm pretty sure HE is the one who created fun and adventure.  
He created horses and lakes and mountains and all the things we enjoy and recreate with.*

So I have been praying for a while about "my college boys". 

 God has been good to let them go to a school that they love, find each other and become brothers. 

Last year, a few of my main prayers for Kole were for him to go to church and grow in the Lord, and to find good friends.

God went  above and beyond in those prayers and many others that I prayed over him.

This year,
 I had two college boys leaving home and I have had very specific prayers AGAIN, for the both of them.

A few of the prayers included
 I wanted them  both to be able to go to church consistently and to have the 
to do so.  :) 

As things all worked together and plans came together to go back to school.......Charlie was able to take the time and cram into the tiny car with these college guys and "go" help them get settled into college.

 God answers prayer, and He is faithful and He is always into
 with us and Him, and "relationship" with us with each other. 
 His answer is NOT about a car, or MONEY or TIME.....He uses those things for "relationship". 
 When He answers a prayer...there is always a "relationship factor", that makes it soooo much better and more complete.

I can only giggle when I think of my prayer and then I think of those boys  being a captive audience in a tiny cramped car, (the transportation prayer answered) with nothing to do but talk and share and listen.

And as only God would; He went above and beyond what I could think up or pray for, and gave the guys an adventure.  
These guys were 
 looking forward to 32 hours of road time to get to their destination....
God just made it plain fun and competitive!!!!

They realized on Friday night that our pastor and his wife, our good friends, whom we dearly love, would be preaching in Texas on Monday night, not too far from their first stop in Texas.

Once they realized turned from the dread of 32 hours in a tiny


They changed their whole plan and decided to leave early Sunday morning drive straight through with only necessary
 "pit stops"
 that were strategically planned to save time.
I laugh at what the conversations must have been like at the gas stations, as they were hustling around getting fuel and food.

"Hey are a long way from home, and you have a lot of stuff crammed in that car, where are you headed in such a rush?"
The reply,

32 hours 6 states 2100 miles and 2 time zones later 


They made their goal!! 
 They had fun, felt like they won the RACE and had a good time surprising Pastor Jordan and Lacey.  

They were exhausted, sleep deprived, sore bodies, and couldn't be a single bit happier.

 Charlie must have felt like he was back on a rodeo trail of sorts.

I love that God gave them
 and blew me away with their 
 to go to church!!!!

He answers prayers!!!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer Fun!!!!

We have had the busiest funnest most active summer I have ever had or even ever thought possible.
We played hard and we celebrated
 and now it is all coming to an end and I'm sad, but I'm so stinkin' worn out that I'm 
it to come to an end.
My GRAND got to come TWICE for week long visits and she brought her wonderful  parents  too.

We celebrated a graduation. 

 We did swimming lessons and attended basketball, volleyball and football camps.

 I got to see 
EVERY single one of my sisters
 and all of my nieces and most of my nephews this summer.
That is a big fat awesome blessing.

 We celebrated about a gazillion birthdays.

We had a family reunion.

We attended a concert.

 We had a short and much needed visit from

 We had a great big fun Redeemer House Reunion!

 We played games!!!!!
 We boated and skied as many times as we could.

We LOVED on our college boys!!! 
 LOVE these brothers.

I just have to say it again.

It's wild and crazy and exhausting!

God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams and now I need about a month of
 "cave time"
 as my sister puts it, 
and I have informed everyone that I am going on a cooking 

Thank you Lord for EVERYONE and all we have gotten to celebrate.

Psalm 100

English Standard Version (ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!

    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Redeemer House Reunion 2013

Twelve families have adopted from Redeemer House.  The families and several loving encouraging support people were able to join in a time of celebration and remembrance of all the things God has done through our individual journeys.

Joshua 4:8-9

The Message (MSG)
8-9 The People of Israel did exactly as Joshua commanded: They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan—a stone for each of the twelve tribes, just as God had instructed Joshua—carried them across with them to the camp, and set them down there. Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the middle of the Jordan that had marked the place where the priests who carried the Chest of the Covenant had stood. They are still there today.

The thing that resounded to my heart all weekend was how God hand picked each child and family to be together, just as He wove each child in their mother's womb, He wove together each family. 

He placed together children in their families and He brought together such a bigger picture and circle than just the child or the family, but it extends
 far and wide.  

As my sister pointed out, it would be amazing if we could draw circles of the families and then draw lines to show how each family is connected, to give a visual of all the different ways we are all connected. 
 It would be like a ball of yarn, 
messy and tangled 
and beautiful and colorful and continuous. 

 You can not find the beginning or the end and the more you dive into it all the more it grows.

 I'm in awe of God.
80 people got together for a weekend of celebration for the things that God has done.  I am once again blown away by the connections and the miracles and the relationships and the answer to prayers and the
 that was gathered in one group of people from all over the country and ultimately from many countries!
 These girls are sisters in Christ and orphanage sisters and friends from Africa, now in America and someday in heaven.

 God surprised me with many extra added blessings from the connections and the relationships this weekend. 
 I met people (Matt  :) ) that I consider AMAZING mentors to my older kids. 
Matt:  This is a public request to continue to press in...I know this was a God connection.  
  I spoke  and prayed with precious friends(Rick and Wendi) that have helped open my eyes to some things I've been struggling with. 
 We have connections that extend far beyond Redeemer House,
 and God just used this 
"meeting point, this reunion"
 to bring us together to discover that He has so much more for us.
These boys came into their "forever family" about the same time. 
 One is my son, one is my nephew.  They are from 2 different countries.  
They are cousins and I'm in awe of the story this picture tells.

 I was in a serious tail spin on Friday night because people were due to arrive and many had traveled from all over the country to gather and have a reunion and praise our God for all He had done. 
 Just as it was supposed to get started at our house......
it poured and blew and it was a

 Let me explain the people God had brought together for this occasion....everyone pitched in....piled in, squished in and smiled and laughed and visited and adjusted through it all. 

Storms come to distract and discourage and if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and not our decorated lives or 
"our expectations" 
can make it so much better than we could have ever planned or anticipated.

We moved all the festivities into the barn and it was a picture of flexibility and joy and working together and closeness.
It was a picture of the adoption journey and our families.

 We tried to make it beautiful and polished and well planned,
 and God washed and blew it all to pieces,
 put it together, put us together so much better, and sweeter and tighter.  :)

Things are  constantly changing in our lives
in our families
 and in Redeemer House.

I need to continue to look to Jesus and not
"my expectations"
"my plans"
"my life"
but continually look to 
 and Him alone and the things He has done and the things He has yet to do.

I need to trust His plan...even if it a last minute move or change or adjustment.  During the storms that will always come, just keep my eyes on Jesus.  As Dan (one of the adoptive dads) pointed others may be stepping out of the boat during a storm...encourage them!!!! 
 What would that have been like for Peter to have the 11 that stayed in the boat as he stepped out to meet Jesus, encouraging him and rooting for him.

I thank Jesus that He has allowed me to be a part of the things He has done and I ask Him to continue to allow me to be a part of His plans.

Psalm 91:1-2, 14-16

English Standard Version (ESV)

My Refuge and My Fortress

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;

    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I was reminded to NOT put God in a box.....
as I listened and heard and of how each of our journeys to this meeting point,
 this reunion, 
were so totally different and yet connected and God used it 

He used is all and continues to use it all for
 His GLORY!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy 50th Birthday Bofriend!!

This is my man! 
 At 50 years old he's still got it. 

Charlie is my wild man. 

Everything he does he does full on, full speed ahead.

My man works hard and he plays hard.  

My very favorite thing about my wild man is the fact that he loves 
  Something happened to him in Uganda a few years ago, and he has a flame in him that I pray never goes out.  

He learned how to love "the least of these" and he learned the power of prayer.

Matthew 25:38-40

English Standard Version (ESV)
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

My wild man has always been a good guy and he has always believed in God and cared for people, but now he
 LOVES like the WILD man that he is.  

My man is a warrior.
  He has a fist full of arrows, and a full quiver. (well, not TOTALLY full...always room for more)
  He is a warrior for his family and his friends and he is a warrior for the children God has put in his life.  

He takes care of  kids from all over the world, not just the ones in our home, but he takes care of several kids living in
 Uganda, and in Ethiopia.

Psalm 127:4-5

The Message (MSG)
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
    you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

This verse cracks me up because I would challenge an enemy to try to get past our doorstep and to Charlie in this house.
He would have to get through all the kids and their stuff first.
 He would first have to trip and fall over 500 toys and then step on a few stray legos
 (that hurt like heck when you step on them) 
and then he would have to fight off all the kids trying to hang on their Dad, 
or if it was night time the enemy would have to sort through the pile of sleeping bodies to find him, 
and if he could get to him, then....he would have NO LUCK waking Charlie up.  
The man sleeps as hard as he works.

    Our joke has always been that Charlie can never retire; he's too hyper, and retirement would kill him, and if it didn't, I would. 
 (just joking...kinda..kinda not
  Let's just's best to keep us busy. 
 Even when we vacation, we keep a pretty fast pace and we don't spend a lot of 
"alone time". 

I used to try to push for it, thinking it was the "thing" to do, and then I realized it was boring. 
 It wasn't "us".  

It's funny how we have always said in a "joking" way, that we could never be left "alone" for too long, and Charlie could never "retire", because he would self destruct. 
 Now I believe God put that in our hearts because He knows Charlie better than anyone.

 He abundantly blessed him with lots of kids, and no money to retire on, but a strong body to keep working.

Happy Birthday Bofriend!

You rock my world everyday!!!!