Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yes, I know I seem unstable or just crazy!

At the risk of looking like a complete nutcase, I am switching back to my old blog, Living in the Now. I will begin posting there. The address if you want to keep reading is

I hope you will join me there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A conversation with Bella...

I have been talking to Bella alot lately about how she joined our family. I have actually had people say to me the past couple of months, that she looks so much like your husband, you could get away with not telling her she is adopted. They follow that with: "So have you decided if you will or not?" I am appalled! Adoption is not a shameful thing in our family. It is a blessing- something we are proud of and something we have experienced ourselves as children of God. However, I do understand that we have an understanding that others may not, and that is why I am not offended by that question.

It did spur me, though, to begin talking and telling Bella bits of her story. I have been talking to her about Guatemala being the place where she was born and other small parts that are appropriate for her. Today in the car, I asked her where she was born and she replied "Matamala, Mommy." She then said, "You and Daddy on airplane to get me." I told her yes and that we brought her home to live with us in our family forever and ever. As I watched her in my rear view mirror, she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and smiled BIG and said "You saved me, Mommy!"

Now, let me start off with saying that I have never said that to her nor have I included that in her 'story' of how she became our daughter. I must say, her adoption did not start because we wanted to save an orphan. Not that there is anything wrong with that reason. It just wasn't ours. We felt called to adopt and wanted to add to our family. It caught me off guard, but then I saw her face and realized her lingo. You see, anytime I leave Bella somewhere, like school or my mom's or a sitter, or even her with her daddy, when I come back, she runs at me with her arms wide open and says " Mommy... You saved me!!!!" I am not sure where or how she developed this tradition and language, because we never use it. It just makes me smile to know that less than 2 years ago, we picked up a 13 month old baby girl that was frail and scared and did not know how to show affection. In all my 4 visits, I had never even heard her laugh and rarely smile. But today... she is vibrant and affectionate beyond belief and literally bounces everywhere she goes.

It is wonderful to know that she has found her security in us. That she KNOWS we are there to take care of her and she rests in that and is confident in that. How many children do not have that confidence? How many children go to sleep every night with no one to kiss them goodnight or to tell them they love them? How many children are scared and lonely and sick and have no one to give them the assurance that they will "save them" in the sense that they know someone will always be there for them? My daughter doesn't have to worry about where her next meal will come from or where she will sleep or wonder why she is empty inside. Because of adoption, she can just be a child. That one thing alone is BIG. Please look outside of yourself and ask the Lord if He is wanting you to step out and do this. As Christians (and I believe, just as humans), we are called to take care of the least among us. I cannot bear to think what my daughter would be dealing with this day if things were different. I am not saying we are wonderful because we 'saved an orphan". I do not view her joining our family that way and never will. But, things are different for her now. Things are different for us now. Our eyes have been open and we will never look at things the same way again. Just some food for thought.

It reminds me that her adoption is a reality of what Jesus did for my life. He saved me and now I am full of life, know how to love and be loved and am no longer frail in sin and have joy unspeakable. WOW!!! Aren't you glad He saves???

What she has yet to find out, is that she, in a way, saved us. God used her precious life to show us how much He loves us and how He adopted us into His family. He also used her adoption to fuel a passion in us for the orphans in this world.

I don't think I will ever forget this converstaion today. My baby girl is wise beyond her years!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Well, a new school year begins tomorrow. I will be at a new school teaching kindergarten and Jake starts the 4th grade, while Bella is in the PK 3 year old class. We are going to have a great year! I am beyond grateful that the Lord opened this opportunity to me and my children. I am not going to write about school in this post, though. I have to say that preparing for this school year as a teacher has consumed my life this past month, especially this past week, and now I am ready to move forward.

I just read Katie, from Amazima ministries, latest blog post. It was written by her dad and I still can't stop the tears. I envy her, in a way. She is truly following Jesus EVERY day of her life. Ever since I saw the African Children's Choir perform when I was in my early twenties, I have wanted to live my life as a missionary living and working and caring for orphans. Jeff has felt this way, also. In fact, we talked about it on our first date. I really thought we would have been doing it by now. I still pray that God gives my family this desire of our heart.

Adoption changed our lives. After 7 years of wondering WHY I couldn't have another baby, I really feel that the Lord answered me this year. I know He spoke to my heart that we had to go through all that we did with infertility and with our adoption in order for us to have the passion for orphans that we have now. I know He is God and He could have done anything, but He chose to do it this way and (I never thought I would say this), but I am so glad He did. Not only did He fan the flame for the love we have for orphans, but He has used Bella's adoption to show me things about my relationship with Him and how much He loves me and how adoption changed MY life (spiritually-speaking!).

I am in a very different place in my walk with Him right now. I am trying to strip away everything that will hinder me from hearing His voice and being able to follow HIS lead. I want to be led to the place of divine appointment. I realize that I will have to leave some things and some friends behind as I press towards this goal for my life. I realize it will be uncomfortable at times. I realize it will cost me ALOT. But.... I am finally at that place of readiness. I thought I was at other times, but only realized that I wasn't quite ready.

I am now.

I am ready at press in, leave all else behind and discover what He has for my family to do.

I thought when we went to Guatemala this summer that we would come back knowing more about the direction God was leading us. I realized half way into our trip that it was going to be different than I thought. This trip did not answer specifics for us, but did give us insight into other things. I am grateful that HE knows exactly what we have need of and He is faithful to give it to us if we truly seek His will and desire and not our own!!

Our trip to Guatemala this summer gave us a glimpse into how it will be for our family to be on the mission field together. It allowed my children to bond in a way that hasn't happened since Bella came home. My children's relationship is totally different than it was at the beginning of the summer. But most importantly, our trip to Guatemala showed me and Jeff what we feel God is calling us to do. It has given us a clearer picture even though we don't feel closer to the exact place. Now, we just have to begin to get rid of the things that are hindering us, so that we can be more than ready when He opens the door.

I am ready to walk through the doors He will set before us and live my life broken before Him and serving Him whole-heartedly. I am willing to leave ALL behind to follow Him and I am ready to hear His voice speak so that I can follow. It is an exciting time and my spirit is bursting with the possibilities....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yes, I get bored very easily. I changed my blog template, but don't get used to it. I plan to have it redone and replaced with a custom layout. I am just in the process of deciding which pictures I want to use. Once I do that, I will have it redone. Be patient while I am under construction, please.

On the potty-training front... I think it is safe to say that Isabella Claire is officiallyy potty trained!!! Can I get a WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!! We have done more dancing and high-fiving at this house than has evah been done here. I am SOOOO proud of her. Truly, it was answered prayer. I know that sounds silly, but I was really stressing over this. She HAD to be completely potty trained by Aug.10 and it wasn't looking good. The trip to Guatemala messed her up. Before we left, she heard, "Bella, don't potty in your panties." When we got there, she heard, "Bella, use it in your Pull-Up. There isn't a potty in this village." Then 10 days later, she heard, "Bella, stop using it in you panties." I can't say that I blamed her, but she seemed to take the attitude:"Lady, you can't make up your mind WHERE you want me to use the bathroom... SOOO I will do it wherever I please!" AND SHE DID. I realized she needed some time to get back into the routine of our normal life, so we stopped for a little while.

This past week, I prayed and reminded the Lord that He said in His Word that He cares about every detail of our lives. I took Him at His Word and told Him I needed help and some miraculous help He sent our way. In the past 5 days, Bella has gone from wetting panties to only having 1 accident total. CONGRATS to my Baby Girl!!!

Stay tuned for a new look soon!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I haven't done much blogging about our trip here. I posted alot of pictures on facebook while we were there and kept people updated with my statuses. This was an amazing trip for our family. When we were in process with Isabella, we did not get to leave the hotel with her on our visits. Until this trip,we had not been able to experience Guatemala, nor did we get to see its beauty. I always felt a disconnect with Bella's birthcountry... until this trip. It is no secret to those that know us, that we feel a pull and a call to work full-time with orphans in another country. While we are still not sure where or when that will be, we are more convinced it WILL happen since making this trip.

Once we returned, I tried to put it into words when we were asked by people,"so how was your trip?" It was hard to describe. I mean, we saw our daughter's birth country, we ministerd and loved on some precious children and their families, and we made some long-lasting friendships with people that have become like family to us. God was with us, worked through us and most importantly, worked IN us. But Jeff summed it up best when he told someone, "Our family was different in Guatemala." WOW!! That is so very true.

One of the biggest things that occurred is the bonding that happened between Jake and Bella. They bonded more on this trip than they did in the year and a half Bella has been home. It was supernatural and amazing to watch. My son was a diferent boy. He is a great kid, with a big heart and a desire to live a life that pleases God. He truly has a heart after God. He came into his own on this trip. He was walking in an annointing that was amazing. I truly think he will be a missionary or pastor one day. In watching him with the people in the village of Pueblo Nuevo, I saw the beginning of God doing something in him. I also realized that Jeff and I have an awesome responsiblity to lead him and guide him and help him find his way to God's will for his precious life.

I watched Jeff as he tore down walls that a teenage girl of the village had built around her heart. None of us on that team could have done what he did with her. As I watched him teach her how to make an oragmi star out of paper and do it without knowing a lick of Spanish, I fell in love with him all over again. I watched him while we were at a special-needs orphanage and witnessed a very special little girl steal his heart. I watched in awe as he touched her life and she touched his. Jeff was a different person on this trip. It was amazing to watch him.

I know this post seems to be all over, but I am trying to convey how this trip truly changed our family. I liked being there. It felt right. It felt like home. It felt like we belonged. I think why all of it felt so perfect is because we, as a family, were walking in the calling God has for us. Which just shows me more than before we left, we HAVE to get back to doing what He has called us to do. We are seeking His will and waiting for His voice. Over the next few posts, I will post pics from the week there. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am so proud of my son, Jake. He was amazing on this trip. This was his second time out of the country. The first was a little over 2 years ago when he met Isabella for the first time. He was a sight to behold in Guatemala. The first day we were in Pueblo Nuevo with Pastor Marco and his family, Jake spent the morning playing with Pastor Marco's son. They threw the tennis ball to each other for over 2hours. Jake taught him how to throw different kinds of pitches. All with a language barrier.

The second day we interacted with the children of the village. We did their children's program with them. This included an arts and crafts project, serving them food and then playing with them. Jake and Cassie (Bobby's daughter) taught them how to make origami stars. Now, keep in mind that Cassie had to teach Jake (with him having no prior knowledge) how to do this the night before. Cassie is a very good teacher! The children loved it and I cannot express what it did to me to see my son doing this with these children.

He was able to transcend the language barrier between them and show them the love of God. On the third day, while we were passing out the food to the children, Jake passed me on his way to bring more plates and looked up at me. He said, "I just love doing this. I could do this for the rest of my life." Needless to say, I dissolved into an emotional puddle. I mean, how many 9 1/2 year old boys (and I mean full out BOY) do you know of that would make a statement like this on their own? Not many... I taught a class of them last year and I don't know of another one in there that would have gone on this trip without complaining at some point. Jake did NOT complain one time. We went some days without eating between breakfast and supper. If you know Jake, you know this is miraculous in itself! :) But seriously, my son walked in an anointing this week and it was a privilege to see.

I know God has BIG things in store for him and I pray daily that I am able to lead him in the way, with the help of my Saviour.

"I love you, Jake and am so proud to call you my son and to hear you call me Mom."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not What I Expected From This Trip

The title of this post says it all. We leave tomorrow to come back home. We left a week ago today for what was to be my family's first missions trip. I had alot of expectations. I had an agenda. It was MY agenda. How many of you can attest to the fact that your agenda hardly ever happens on trips like this one? My last post had a funny spin to it, but all kidding aside, the events of that Sunday will forever be ingrained in my heart and mind.

I left the U.S. thinking that I was going to get to Guatemala and love and minister to the people there- to show them the love of God. We did that to the best of our ability, I believe. But God had another plan. One that included doing a work on the inside of me. Actually, starting a work in my heart. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I struggle with grace-- giving and receiving it. I have high expectations of myself and that bleeds into high expectations of others. That can wreak havoc on relationships. Not just earthly ones, but my relationship with my Saviour. I struggle with having to have it all together before I can go to God. Now, I know in my head that goes against the Bible and everything I have learned about the character of God. But that is just the truth of my struggles. What I am about to write is going to be hard for me to admit, but I feel it is necessary.

God's agenda was to show me how little I love people. I mean actually LOVE people. It is one thing to say "I love you" to someone. It is another thing to DO IT. We met with a very wise missionary today. (I will have to share the story of how our pathes crossed at another time, but it was truly God-ordained.) In talking with him, God began to show me that I needed to re-evaluate my life as a Christian. He began to show me that I am somewhat of a Pharisee. Actually, He began to show me this earlier in the trip than today, but today just sealed the deal, if you will. As I watched the children of Pueblo Nuevo and their families earlier this week, I realized that they were easy to fall in love with. You see, they have very little, yet they have so much. That may sound a bit clicheish (my made-up word), but it is the truth. The children loved each other. They watched out for each other. They were giving to each other. They even tried to give their things to my children. The families had such a strong sense of community. What was not to love?

Then God began to speak to my heart. He reminded me that it is easy to love people like these people. But then He reminded me that I can't just love people that it is easy to love. He began to remind me of the harshness I sometimes judge others with. He began to remind me of verses in James about extending mercy and grace and love to everyone... not just those who 'deserve' it. Because in actuality, grace and mercy only need to be extended to people because they have done something that warrants it. Not to perfect people. Let's face it (here comes another cliche), there are no perfect people! Therefore, logic suggests that we should be showing grace and mercy to eveyone that is breathing. Then, a situation happened where I had an opportunity to either get angry or show that love and mercy, and yet again, I failed miserably. But this time, instead of condeming myself, I just repented and asked Him to help me react differently next time. He tenderly (once I calmed down) reminded me that I "don't sin by letting anger contol me" Ephesians 4:26 and I "must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don't just listen to God's words. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be righteous but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." James 1:19-26

Then, as we sat talking with this missionary, he began to share some of his struggles. How many of you reading this know that one of the biggest lies we can believe is that 'I am the only one that struggles with this or that. I am the only one that feels this way. I am the only one that reacts this way.'? Well, I tend to fall for this one hook, line and sinker. As we talked, I began to see that he struggles with the same things I do. I am not alone in this. He made the comment that he believes there are 2 types of people- ones that are totally in love with Jesus and ones that aren't.

Here is where this gets hard for me to write. I fall into the group that is not. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jesus. But, I am not totally IN love with Him. I have allowed the cares of this world, the things of this world, bitterness, unforgivness, and other things to come between me and my Saviour. At first, I got offended by this thought. I couldn't even admit it to myself. I did not want the light of His Spirit to shine on that closed up part of the deepest part of my heart. But let's fact it, you can't change until you admit what needs to be changed.

I. Am. Ready. To. Change. I am ready to fall in love with Him all over again. In order to do this, I have to lay aside EVERYTHING else. In my realtionship with my husband, we sometimes have realize that we have allowed life to happen to us... to let the every day mundane things we have do, to wedge between us, we have to stop and regroup. We have to begin to get rid of everything that is absolutely not necessary and begin to spend time together. That is what I have to do when I get back home. I must begin to rid my life of the things that have wedged between me and my God. I must fall in love with Him- not just love him. There is a big difference between the two.

Another thing that we talked about, was putting on this front and hiding things about us because if others see that in me or know I struggle with this or have this burden, they may not like me. Instead, we must do as the Word of God says and 'bear one another's burdens'. We cannot do this for each other if we judge one another. It is time for us to get real and stay real and live real. I don't want to be a Pharisee anymore. I want to be a disciple. I want to love people. I want to, as Tom Davis says in the book Red Letters, live the red letters of the Bible. I MUST begin to live this way. In the past, I have tried to do this on my own, only to fail and end up having to write a post like this one. This time, I am going to do it His way.

So, as you can see, He had a different agenda. One that has been hard to accept and hard to admit. But one that I know is going to be life changing for me. So, I am returning home and returning to the basic "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, sould, mind and strength and love your neighbor as thyself." Instead of it just being a Bible verse I learned in Christian school, it will become something I strive, through Him, to LIVE daily.