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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Good Monday Mourning

It's a "good" Monday "mourning" for me.

It is good because we had a week of fun and blessing and celebrating and family and friends and good food and more of all the above than I can wrap my mind around......

We have a lifetime of  wonderful memories made in a short amount of time.
Cousins had a blast together!

Charlie and Justin working together AGAIN.  

Loving on my girl and my new "GRAND"

Brittany bringing life and laughter to the festivities.

Father - daughter dances are my favorite.

So, today it is good to take a deep breath and process all that has taken place.

Today is also a good mourning because there is adjustment to the new norm.

People have flown out of here like crazy.  I hate good-byes and change is never my favorite.

 We are having to adjust to the new norm of life with  my wife Charsie being married and having a whole new role in her life.

This morning as we were giving the new chore assignments, as we now don't have Charsie to keep us lined out.  I had a huge lump in my throat as I gave her chores to the other kids.  Charsie did a lot around here and it is more obvious than ever now that it's taking several of us to pick up where she left off.

Today would have been the kind of day that my girl came and brought me a special coffee from my favorite place, ordered to perfection just because she is always that thoughtful.  I had to go get my own coffee, but it made me think of her and miss her, but also made me smile and thankful for the 18 blessed years that she was all ours and now we have a new son-in-love that we get to add to the pile and that just makes the blessing pile bigger and better.

I can't wait to share more about the wedding festivities, but today it's just a 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

God Sends An Angel

This beautiful lady with Lashae and Charsie, is Nancy.  
She is what I like to call my "shopping Angel."
When we were adopting Esther, Nancy showed up at church with a CLOSET for Esther. 

She clothed that girl from head to toe with never even laying an eye on her. 
 Esther was due to arrive home, from Uganda, the very next day and I was pregnant and overwhelmed with life. 

 This angel shows up with brand new beautiful EVERYTHING for our new daughter. 

 I will never forget it.
 I was blessed beyond words.
  Everything fit, everything was beautiful, and everything was a gracious gift from a Jesus loving lady with the wonderful gift of shopping and the generosity to use and share her gift abundantly.

Esther had multiple outfits including shoes for all occasions.....
church, home, school, sleep, EVERYTHING.  
It blew my mind and my heart into a hundred pieces.
It was over the top generous!

I was tapped out at the every way, I could not figure out how I was going to muster all that needed to be mustered to get my daughter the things that she needed to start life in her new family, and I had less than 24 hours to figure it out when this beautiful Angel just handed over bag after bag after bag or things she had bought for our daughter.

This "shopping Angel" blessed us with gracious generosity and perfect timing.

Well, Nancy has once again BLESSED us with her gifts, talents and perfect timing.
I am tapped out. 
Without a word from me, to anybody, but to my Lord in the privacy of our own conversation about how I needed......
(I didn't know what exactly, I just knew I needed.....)
He heard me, and He knew exactly what to do,  and he sent

Nancy, swooped in with her shopping chariot and got my girls for the day. 

She has had a heart for Charsie  for many years, and at the exact right time she has come and taken the girls
 "all things wedding" 

Charsie is feeling,
 loved and special and blessed and spoiled.

I'm tired and my wallet is tired, we are both ready for a break.  
Shopping is a challenge for this Nay Nay, even on my very best day.

I'm at the point I don't know what we need or how to delegate, I just know we are not done,
 but I am.

So as I'm telling God, "I need a time-out." 
 Nancy must have been saying, "Put me in God, I'm ready to go!"

He heard us both!!!  And answered bigger than I could ever imagine.

 The gift of this has been a million times beyond the "things" or the "shopping" or the "money" or the "time."
It's just blessing me from every part of my being, and such a reminder that God cares about every single detail of our lives.
He hears, He knows, and He cares!

My girls are feeling like  Princess Bride and Queen Matron of Honor,
and I'm getting to be my 3 favorite introvert, a mama, and a Nay Nay at home with 4 of my favorite little people.

AKA:  Shopping Angel!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Worlds Collide

It's so hard to live for God in this country. 
 Your comfort is so important here. 
 -  Pastor Tucker Walugega

Tucker is a dear friend, a gifted preacher and leader, a father, and a husband, but mostly a wild
 Jesus loving, God seeking, Spirit filled man.

Tucker just spent several days with us.  He spent 3 solid days of his time here fasting from food and drink.  Yes, you read correctly...he did not drink a drop for 3 solid days.  I was distraught to say the least.  This Esther Fast, as he called it, went against every hostess and comfort and American bone in my body.

I know we are called to fast and to pray, but we have even made that pretty comfortable most times.  We give up sugar or social media, or maybe coffee or pop, but this man fasted from food and water for 3 days.

He did not flaunt his fasting he only told me so that I knew why he wouldn't be joining us to eat.

Matthew 6:16New International Version 

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

He would come out of his room and pray with us in the evenings and act like everything was completely normal.  I was observing him like a hawk and making sure he was in his right mind. 
 He was strong and focused and full of life.
 He said the Lord keeps him strong when he does this.
 He has been doing this fast as often as God lays it on his heart, and he has been in the practice of doing it for 15 years.

 His goal in fasting is to be obedient to the word of God, and to seek the Lord and his presence in his life.
 As he denies and tunes out his flesh, he tunes into the Holy Spirit that lives in him and he is tuned into God's voice. 

 His family and his ministry team seek the Lord individually and as a team even when they are half a world away.
  His wife was fasting right along side him, but she was in Uganda. 
 That is just plain dedication, discipline, and crazy love for the Lord and for one another.

Tucker was pretty quiet for 3 days other than praying.  Sometimes praying with us, sometimes by himself and sometimes over the phone with his wife and with others that needed prayer, but very quiet other than praying.  When I would check on him,
* because I was a total wreck*
he would be fine and never uttered a complaint. 

The thing that just challenged me equally to the 3 days without food and fluid was the fact that he was pretty still for 3 days.  We can live without food and water for 3 days, but we think the world can not live without us for 3 days.  To just step out of the flow of life and seek the Lord day after day after day is so foreign and weird to me.  I get caught up in thinking that the world might stop spinning if I'm not engaged every moment or at least every day.

 So many things will be accomplished in his life and in his ministry and in his family's life because he has been quiet and praying and seeking the Lord.  He accomplished more by seeking the Lord and listening and studying the Word of God than if he had worked his head off night and day for those 3 days.

On the 4th day, Tucker got up and drank hot water with honey in it and then finally ate some food.


  I felt relief for him and for me. :)
I was so afraid he might die or go into kidney failure on my watch.  I had no idea how to explain this to God or the authorities....kinda kidding kinda not.  

The thing that challenged me and blessed me was that he does this often, but he does it in our country, in our culture, in his country, in his culture...wherever and whenever he happens to be when God calls him to do it.
He was humble and gracious as we kept the kitchen in high production the whole time, and he never wavered.

  He could use the excuse that it is a bit extreme for American culture, but he understands and realizes that whether he is here in America or in Uganda or in China he is an alien in this world. 
 He is a follower of Jesus Christ, and he is a citizen of heaven and that is the culture and the country he conforms to. 

Philippians 3:17-21The Message (MSG)

17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

I asked for Tucker's permission to share this, he humbly consented, as he does not do it for attention or praise for himself.  He is a teacher and an example of how to live and is willing to be used to encourage others.  He gives all the praise and glory to God and wants others to experience the presence of  the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Romans 12:1English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Adoption - It Changed Us!

Today we celebrate ADOPTION.  

November is Adoption Awareness month and today is
 Orphan Sunday. 

 I have been reflecting on what God has done in my life and in our whole family through adoption.

Back in 2010......

God had it on my heart to adopt,
Charlie did NOT have it on his heart (yet).

 Charlie went to Uganda and met Esther, and God put it on his heart to adopt.

God provided for every single thing we needed to go get our girl.
The money, the courage, the faith and perseverance, the joy, the people, the paperwork, the mountains MOVED that needed moved!!  

We learned the beauty of saying "yes" to God.

We got blessed in ways we can't even count or explain.

We got a daughter and a whole new life and family.

We  got to be part of what God was doing.....and it changed all of our lives for the better, and forever.

We can not imagine our lives without our Ugandan daughter.

Then in 2013....
God  blessed us with Mikiyas, the most amazing Ethiopian son.  

We have learned that saying "yes" to God comes with 
huge challenges and huger blessings.

Adoption has opened our eyes and our hearts in ways that we were blind and closed to.

Adoption is by far one of the hardest things and the greatest things God has allowed us to be a part of. 

 There is not one day that goes by that we don't rely on the Lord for strength and LOVE to parent.

If we would have said,
 it's too hard,
 too expensive,
 too scary,
 too risky,
too......(any other excuse)

 we would have missed out on some of God's biggest blessings to us and to many others that have fallen in love with these kids.

 These kids have brought us all closer to our Lord and to one another.
 It is not perfect and the story is not over, but it is crazy amazing, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Adopting has brought the gospel to life for me; and the scriptures about God adopting me into his family, have new meaning. 

We have been graciously blessed with 2 adopted kids to raise (so far), and we have adopted Claiborne and Simon into our hearts as if they were ours.

  We provide what we can, when we can, and we love them and pray for them as one of our own. 

Ephesians 1:3-6English Standard Version (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[a] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Romans 8:15English Standard Version (ESV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,
 “Abba! Father!”

I can't imagine my life without one of these kids.
  I am so grateful to God for putting each of these adopted loves in my life and in my heart.