Saturday, February 28, 2009

why 765,800 is a better number than 6,000,000+

because it's Naomi's latest Hepatitis B DNA viral load count and after only three months of increased dosage of her Epivir antiviral medication! Naomi's counts have fluctuated since she came home as an infant. Her Pedi-Gastroenterologist is usually on the guarded side of pessimistic about Naomi's status and was prepared to order a liver biopsy and to add a drug to Naomi's routine; he was so sure that since she'd spiked so high in December that the virus had mutated into an unresponsive strain. We have just continued to trust her Hep B to the Lord from day one. Whatever happens with it, should God heal her or should she live with Hep B for her whole life, it is a better life than untreated in an orphanage in northern Vietnam. There is another drug about to be approved for pediatric use in the USA, bringing to 3 the number of meds available. For a child whose virus changes frequently and quickly, having another drug to use is BIG. Since Asian people respond in the least favorable way to antiviral drugs of all the races, and since children grow so quickly and develop immunity to meds quicker than adults, Naomi has "2 strikes" against her, BUT she has a God who has a plan for her life, a family who loves her unconditionally, and she lives in a country where we can get the best medical care for her. The virus could "sero-convert"......decrease to a point where her body deveops antibodies against it, or she may not. For now, Naomi is healthy. Yes, her body hosts a huge number of enemy viruses, but not the largest I have heard of by any stretch, and a lesser number than it had in December. We are thankful and praising God that He has given scientists the curiosity and know how to develop meds like Epivir. We continue to pray for complete healing!

Friday, February 27, 2009

"I Don't Want to Gain the Whole World and Loose My Soul"

is the song, right now, that you hear when my blog opens up. Its not my ususal genre of music, but I heard this song on the radio one day when I was driving and it ministered to me so deeply that I was in tears, tears of "YES JESUS ! YES AMEN and AMEN............ " I don't know how many people have been reduced to tears over a rap/hip-hop song, but I was. I love how God ministers to me through music! Very often when I am hearing a new song it reminds me of an old and familiar hymn and it stirs me how God speaks to His people through the ages. Even if the delivery is quite different, the message of Salavation and the call to Holy Living is still the same. If you have not listened to this song all the way through I would encourage you to do so, and if you know it already (it is NOT a new song............just newer to my "spiritual Playlist") sing along and let God give you a new "amen"!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reflecting, Part 2

Isaac, 7 and Linda, taken by Malachi just minutes after we were introduced to our new son

God Who is so rich in mercies and blessings and Who gives us far more than we could ever imagine had written a Part 2 to the story of my Dad's Homegoing and just like He aligned thestars and planets, so he aligned our Isaac Sang Thai's homeCOMING.
We'd been caught up in a suspension on adoptions in Cambodia which caused a lot of waiting and uncertainty but in all that God was working what I love to call our personal "5 Loaves and 2 Fishes " story. Several months after he'd been home, our 5 year old Noah in falting newly learned English, told us that at the orphanage he had a friend, Sang Thai who was not his brother, but was like his brother there. He asked "You go 'dopt him too?". Charlie, Jael and I all remembered just who he meant: they were together almost all the time when we were at the orphanage. As we poured over our photos of our trips, we saw that photos of Noah and Isaac were "everywhere" and as Noah talked more and more about their close bond, we knew we had to ask! I had to learn to write effective letters to the heads of the Cambodian Ministries which oversaw adoptions. Our family was already too large for their standards. We requested an exception of policy to be allowed to reunite the two boys we'd separated. Reqest denied. Appeal sent. Appeal denied. Our second denial came on Sept 11, 2003. Our next appeal was sent on September 18, our wedding anniversary. On November 21 a new anniversary date was created when we were granted permission to come to Cambodia and complete the adoption of 7 1/2 year old Sang Thai! I'd planned to take 15 year old Malachi with me for this trip and we thought we'd be home before Christmas. NO. Due to the Chinese New Year travel rush, all airline tickets were sold for every seat on every plane which could get us to a connection into Cambodia (together: coming or going home) from mid November until February 17!!!!!! On February 19, 2004, my birthday, Malachi and I arrived in Cambodia, were taken to our hotel and our new son brought to us , just in time to go to the Ministry offices for our Giving and Receiving Ceremony. YES! God blessed me, blessed us, with a new son on my birthday, the 5th anniversary of Daddy's Homegoing! Would I have preferred a quick flight in fall of 2003? You Betcha By Golly WOW! I would ! But how very precious and special that God worked things out as He did.........we "managed" to wait through the winter , checking for openings in any airline schedule that might allow us to go sooner, but God gave me one of the best birthday gifts anyone could ever receive! And asyou can see from our family photos, that was not the end of the story of Smiths adopting in Cambodia............but that's another story for another day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Greetings readers!

Hi ! I can see from my visitor counter that a lot of folks have checked in on Smithsoup. Thanks for stopping by. Maybe what I 've written hasn't been something you wanted to leave a comment about so I'm inviting you to leave a comment let me know who you are or so you can just say "hi" back. Again, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your "taste of Smithsoup" and I hope you'll come back again.

new Photo and a day to make plans!

I know that their faces have not changed much since I first saw their first photos in September. We have been blessed to receive new photos almost every month since September when we were first asked about them and we said YES to Junior and Diamoh but OH I LOVE to see new photos!!! Actually Diamoh has changed because her top-toothless shy smile has filled in with her top teeth. I remeasured Naomi and Isaiah because the height measurements I have for Junior and Diamoh are proportionately the same. HE just always looks taller to me than I think he is going to, but she is a tiny girl as is Naomi, and Isaiah is NOT a tall boy either for being 10. My "step stair crew" will not have a step out of order!!!
The travel agent and I have been communicating and while it seems we can leave on the 12th or maybe even the 13th of March, trying to leave on the 14th to meet up with our agency party going over together is proving to be VERY difficult. SOMETHING has air traffic getting us out of OKC or even Tulsa or Wichita impossible. So as I continue to trust God for the remainder of the funds we need to pay for this trip, now I am needing to pray for a TRIP TO PAY FOR!!!!! OK we are walking by faith, and not by sight!!! Lord if this is a last minute closed door to a trip, make it very clear with a plague of locust and not just a few pesky mosquitoes!! Maybe not a great analogy, and not one I mean literally, but you get my point. We do not want to push ahead of God, or in any way miss God by trying to lead and not follow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reflecting on life

I shared this story with my online prayer fellowship but its a testimony of God's faithfulness in extreme unexpected situations, sadness and of His direction and comfort
This year my birthday was particularly poignant for me as it was also the 10th anniversary of my dad's Homegoing.
God had really put it upon mine and oldest son Joshua's hearts to go see my dad (Joshua was in Houston ,we were in Sulphur, La and my parents were in NE Georgia). I drove to Houston two hours west to get car-less Joshua so we could drive together for the 12+ hour trip from Houston.........GOD KNEW exactly why we were so moved. HE had moved our hearts by His tender Hand. It was the last time Joshua got to see his Pop alive.With my aunt out of state, and my only brother who lived close to my parents out of state at that time as mom would have been physically alone for probably the hardest night and day of her life. We spent two days with my dad , who was in the hospital for tratment of a non-life-threatening, not- terminal neurological disorder which had gone somehow awry. We kidded that all those years earlier, he, mom and I had also spent the 19th of February in a hospital together, but he was the one not in the bed. Late the night of the 18th, my dad's systems just started to shut down, one by one, and he was put on a vent to help relieve some of the breathing difficulties from the extreme edema accumulating around his heart and lungs. He seemed to be resting, but still shutting down even as we were praying and knowing that that God would heal him either on earth or eternally. I called family members to let them know what was going on, met with some strange responses, emotions, and accusations that I was being overly dramatic, and some of "yes of course we will be praying!" as well. In the wee hours my mom came and woke me from the waiting room couch to tell me that Daddy was failing. My waking thought, strangely, was that he was going to die on my birthday. Several hours later, with my mom out of the room counseling with a wonderful hospital chaplain, I prayed with my Daddy, sang "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand" for him and he went to be with Jesus. When I called my dad's older brother to tell him, he asked what time the doctor had let us know that Daddy was failing beyond return because he had stayed up praying for his brother all night and at about 3 AM God had told him to rest, stop praying and go to sleep. It was at about 3 that the doctor had said that to us! Certainly not what we were planning but God is SO faithful. My mom was beyond understanding the events of that night; I was so thankful that God had brought us those 1000 miles!! God gave me the strength to give my daddy's eulogy at the funeral three days later, made it possible for Charlie to drive up with all the other kids, gave my other relatives time to get in town............. My dad , who had hoped to be well enough to be in his church for their annual Missions conference,hoped to see the parade of flags representing the many countries with missionaries in them sharing the Gospel of Jesus, countries, peoples and missionaries we had prayed for all of my life, had his memorial service beneath all those flags as they hung from the walls and rafters of the auditorium of the church. I think that he was watching from Heaven; I bet when we sang "Victory In Jesus" he was playing along on a new trumpet, with new lungslike those of a 20 year old. One of his goals after he got sick was to be well enough to play his trumpet in church , maybe one more time, maybe at Easter..................
Seems so long ago and yetsometimes like no more than a year or two. How can that be when those 10 years have included my mom having major heart surgery and a heart attack while in that very surgery only 6 months after my dad had died, my last two miscarriages, adding 6, now almost 8 adopted children to the family, moving: a whole new life start- over in a whole new state, kids growing up and marrying and having babies of their mom having a massive stroke which changed life for all of us when disabled by the stroke she needed to be moved from her beloved Georgia to Oklahoma, where she sid she hoped she'd NEVER have to live.........all those tours of duty for my other menfolk.............that is a lot of family living for a mere 10 years!
I am reminded of a song sung at his memorial service called "Stepping On Shore".... "I'm breathing the air, and finding it celestial, I 'm stepping on shore and finding it Home" Funny, when I found out I was pregnant several months after Daddy died I remember saying it was sad that he would not get to know his latest grand baby. When I miscarried, I realized he was the FIRST one to meet his latest grandbaby! Wonder what these last 10 years of life have felt like , have been like, in Heaven??????????????????????? I wonder, is he, are all those in heaven now, that "Great cloud of witnesses" Paul talks about when he talks about running the race set before us?????

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Family reunion: in Mosul, Iraq!

This has come to be a Smith family tradition...having a father-son or a
brother -brother reunion somewhere in Iraq or Kuwait! My oldest son is a contractor for the military and has actually served more time in the Middle East than my military husband and sons have . It was wonderful when Caleb called from Iraq for my birthday, but just as wonderful to receive the photo of my oldest sons together, even if it IS in a war zone! They have come a LONG way from reading WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE together!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Praises, and heat!!

Thank You Father that whatever it was tormenting my dryer, is gone! i left if off for several hours, left it alone and prayed ,as the repairman came to look at the furnace. Some of the benefits of a smaller town are that your repair company / service knows your name and equipment right off, and that they are usually able to come help quickly. Again, praising God that my repairman was able to come, by 11:30 and in very little (bilable) time was able to replace the igniter ( a minor part and not very expensive part which he had a replacement for in his truck) and we have HEAT !
"I lift my eyes up unto the mountains
where does my help come from? My help comes from Thee
Maker of Heaven and Earth!!!!"
Yes Air-O-Heat physcially came and fixed our equipment, yes my dryer is making heat and drying my clothes, but the warmth and peace in my heart? MY HELP comes from my Lord!!

heat.............what a blessed commodity to be missing!!!

OK I knew I had to call the heating and cooling man this morning. I didn't know I was going to need to call th washer and dryer repairman too! When I woke up yesterday and a very UN-intentional 59 degrees showing on my thermometer, and I knew Charlie was not going to be home until after the OKC boy's basketball game (tranlation after 10 PM) to look at the furnace to see if I needed to call for paid help or if this was a problem he could solve, I figured he probably COULD fix it and we'd have heat. UM no. I had my electric blanket. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, it is a very long walk from under my blanket to the wood stove downstairs. (Our bedroom is part of an addition which is on its own heating/cooling system separate from the rest of the house which is on a very antiquated heat pump...hence the dependence on and love for the wood stove.)
My laundry room which is on the bedroom heating system, is a very nice, very large room, built into our garage. It is usually very comfortable because it is heated along with my beroom. Imagine my chilly dismay when I stood switching laundry this morning to disover that my better dryer (we run two washers and two dryers almost constantly) had stopped mid cycle, and no, the clothes were NO WHERE close to dry and NO it will not reset. I have a very cold damp load of needed towels and "unders" in the very cold and drafty laundry room. However I got everything washed and off the floor so when MR FIX IT comes for the furnace he has a very clear path to restoring my heat source.
as I pray that my repairmen are on a slow Friday and can come to my aid before the weekend. I almost think down a dryer is worse than down a furnace !!!
Thankfully we are ALL WELL and there is no shortage of wood for the wood stove!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday

I have the greatest son-in-law EVER!!! When he came to pick up Hannah who was visitng and waiting for her car to be serviced, he came in and gave me a great big (Jon is a big guy, I don't think he could give a little one any how) loving hug and said
"Happy 42nd birthday!!!"
What a sweetie!! he then went on to tell me that he'd just ofound out that a lady thye have come to know, sweet sweet lady, was the same age as me but they had thought for SURE she was at least 10 years older! I felt badly for her, but it made MY day!!! Yes God has been gracious and while that biological clock is jsut ticking away, He has blessed me with on going youthful energy and stamina, and to an extent, a more youthful number of age indicators too!!! I am laughing at me as I write. I SEE every AGE INDICATOR, every day...........and I can tell you, GRAVITY is not always my friend. It would serve better to just keeping my feet down on the ground, and not waste any time pulling down on my knees or my chin!!
AND to make my day even better.that wonderful strange phone # on my phone........CALEB in IRAQ calling to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
I am so blessed

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We have been blessed with a matching grant !!

I was in goose bumps for about an hour after I hung up the phone this morning with the woman from the agency to which we'd applied for a matching grant to help fund Junior and Diamoh's adoptions. That's a long twisty sentence but its late and I have proofread two ,no three college English papers tonight, written our support request letter for our hoped for matching grant partners , and written a recommendation for a friend for her adoptive home study, fed all our kids dinner PLUS the 5 extra college/senior high school boys who came over to watch NBA basketball with our guys, after I had taught school grocery shopped and worked on preparing the music for our Sunday worship service.
WE WERE APPROVED FOR A MATCHING GRANT for $3000!!!!!!!! Between now and April 15 we will be sending out letters to many people and praying that God move upon the hearts of friends and family and local businesses to help us reach that $3000 goal so that it may be matched in full! In all of our other adoptions we just went into debt and paid off the debt. This time one of the thngs we really prayed about was NOT incurring a lot of long term debt but seeking creative ways and new ways to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with, and what we have to manage our large family future with. Being blessed with this grant was such an answer to prayers!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Master piece!!

God's hand on my newest grandbaby

When Hannah called me yesterday in tears over some real evidence that this pregnancy could be "in trouble" we began to pray and I contacted people I knew would pray with us...........PRAISE GOD!!The "evidence" was misleading and not ominous................ The doctor reassured her that this pregnancy was nothing like the first one, everything this time is happening "just perfectly". HE was so kind and compassionate; I really am so thankful that he is caring for her.
PRAISE GOD for the wonderful new ultrasound photo of my grand baby, all of 9 weeks old, the size of a peanut, with arms and legs beginning to be visible, with strong heartbeat advertising the LIFE within, and promise of life to come...........The baby who looked like a grain of rice in the earlier ultrasound now really looks like a baby. Hannah and I sat looking at her three little pictures together, amazed at how incredible the development and changes take place inside the womb.Truly fearfully and wonderfully made!! My gramma heart has a few more things to ponder today!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God" I John 3:1

"Beloved let us love one another for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him....Behold if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:7-10

Valentine's Day is fun; my daughters were thrilled to wake up and find a rose surrounded by Asiatic lilies on each of their pillows, we love to make cookies and give cutsie little cards to all our friends , its all fun. Heart shaped pizza, pancakes, the gorgeous bouquet of roses Charlie gave me: symbols of our love for each other.
HOW THANKFUL I AM that GOD created us to love, to show it, receive it, live it, and then HE gave us a way to do what He created us to do....
I'd encourage you all,dear readers, to read the (little) book of First John. Its my Valentine's Day gift to share with you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

First glimpse of our daughter Naomi

We saw Naomi's first referral photo 7 years ago today. In the midst of a suspension of adoptions in Cambodia, where we'd thought that both of the children we'd prayed about and planned to adopt would come from, our referral for our 4ish year old boy was made ,but not for the baby girl we had also prayed for. Over a year ago being matched with Noah, and still waiting for him, God brought us to our daughter, in Vietnam.the other country we'd felt most drawn to at that time. We had said we were open to some medical special needs and Naomi was diagnosed with Hep B. NO QUESTION in our minds but that this sweet baby in the photo, this Thoa, was OUR DAUGHTER: Hep B and all.........
Fast forward to today, one more of many visits to Naomi's Pediatric gastro-enterologist for a check up, assessment and lab work , all to determine how high her viral DNS counts were and what if any damage were the high numbers of virus running around in her 41 pound body doing to her young liver. Naomi has been on a medication for several years, a chemotherapy in the true sense, and fro a time it was causing a decrease in the number of virus were alive and kicking im her body. The thing with children and Hep B is that they tend to grow and develop more quickly than a med can do its complete virus killing job, and the child develops an immunity to the med, or the virus mutates and stops responding to the meds. Apparently Naomi's virus is one of those which has mutated and is no longer responding to the treatment. The second consideration for Naomi is that for some reason , Asian people are more resistant to the Hep B chem drugs than are white or black people. In November Naomi's counts shot back up almost higher than they were when we began treatment 6 23/4 years ago. The lab values from today's blood draw will tell us the next part of the story : will we be rejoicing that her the virus is responding to the increased dosage of med for the last three months OR will we schedule a liver biopsy, assess liver damage, and start a second drug to go along with the one Naomi takes daily now? I will know more mid week next week, but we have been praying for a healing since we first saw the beautiful face in the tiny photo, believing God to keep Naomi healthy in spite of the incredibly high numbers of liver damaging virus are rampant in her body. She is not sick, at this point, that we can see. She is an active fun loving terrific equestrian and future rodeo cowgirl who loves everything in life except her visits to the pedi-gastro doc. (Naomi hates talking about the sickness and hates being talked about in a visit)
My sweet precious baby girl, growing up into a petite but spunky young lady, You have given your heart to Jesus, you are His and He is yours and that is the only thing I can be certain about in your life. Some of the details of Hep B are pretty grim, yet some are amazing and we will pray for a healing of your disease for as long as God directs us to pray that way. WE BELIEVE!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Jael...15 years old

From her wonderful, albeit 5 weeks-early home birth through her dedication to the Lord, warching as the Olympic torch came through our town when she was a huge eyed 2 year old, to her first ballet recital, being baptized, in every facet of life Jael is SO alive with spark and passion, and fierce fa,mily loyalty and pride.
I love you dear Daughter@

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been sharing with a number of friends today and I may be of little use to the rest of the world.There is SO much to pray for and to PRIASE GOD for.....................Please excuse me while I step back and focus on a LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS today! It is more exciting than I can express to know that God is at work in so many places and so many people, making His glory known!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Car wash report and health updates

The day could not have been more perfect!!! There was some gusty wind for a while but it was warm and brightly sunny, mid 70s, and simply NOT what one would expect of a February day in this part of the country 4 days after it was 14 degrees!
God was so good to us!! This was not the day of "super generous givers" but a day for us to REALLY bless and minister to the people we served and who gave back to us. I do not think I have ever seen such dirty vehicles at a fund raiser car wash EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We really WORKED this car wash, I mean REALLY WORKED!!!!!BUT, we got to share how God called us into the wonderful ministry of adoption, talk about His love and faithfulness to us as a family, His plans for us and life around us. We got busier at the end of the shift we'd established so we worked from 11 till 4 but we met some great people!
The guy who operates the gas station we do our car washes shared with me that he was raised in foster care and came from a very messed up multi-racial family. He was thrilled to hear what our family was doing. It was my blessing to get to share how God's love for us led us to show His love to children outside of and beyond those I'd home grown. At the end of one of our several conversations, he said "OH I just have to give you a hug, I think you are so wonderful!"
Several Black people came by and they were especially excited at what we were doing the car wash for.
At the end of the day, in large part due to two particularly large donations, but a lot of smaller ones too, we made
This amount is being set aside for our visas into Liberia. It is more than we need for visas, but I don't remember exactly how much we need!
We are praising God for His goodness, that is for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday morining update:
Isaac is still quite sick, and Noah has followed in his footsteps, as has Naomi, Leah, Jael and Malachi. Leah, the least sick of the sickies and I did the farm chores by oursleves last night and this morning. My sweet sickies all wanted grits and eggs for breakfast, with soy bean sauce of course, east request to fill.
I continue to trust God for healing of my children as I pray for sweet Abby Riggs who is far sicker than all of us combined . Standing firm in the knowldege that God is faithful and He IS good, all the time!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

TAGGED! Let's have some fun!

I have been tagged by my friend Anita at Banku, Pho and Fried Spiders!
Here are the rules:
1. Go to the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun

SO TAG YOU 4 are IT!!!!!
1. CK aka The Hills are Alive with the sound of Egans
2. Kirsten aka A Day in the Life
3. Cheryl aka Romans 8:15
4. Kellie aka Bonkland


Go figure.even in Cambodia I was able to find a pig to photograph for my collection. This was a sign I found near my friend Rhonda's house in Phnom Penh...I am not sure what kind of shop it was, the thought maybe spices and seasonings as it was not a butcher shop.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Please pray for Abby Riggs and her family

Update to the Thursday Abby Update...

Abby is doing worse this evening.

Her lungs have become “junky” and she is having a hard time breathing, and taking quick, choppy breaths. Her oxygen levels are down some. She has no immune system at all at this point. Her sores are worse today. Not sure what the docs are going to do, but we are watching her closely.

Without trying to over alarm or be melodramatic, it is COMPLICATIONS that are usual cause of death for kids in Abby’s situation. So every complication that arises at this point is very concerning.

God is in control and we rejoice in the opportunity to depend on Him and observe His mercy and goodness.

We appreciate your prayers. We appreciate you letting other people know to pray. We appreciate are blogger friends posting to their readers when they can. We’ll keep you updated.

Brent & Michelle


More blessings!! A dear friend has a jewelry business. Among her creations are Salvation and Story of Jesus bracelets. She has made a wonderful shared profit-offer to me for our adoption fund!!!I ordered one for my future daughter in law for her birthday coming up. If you are interested in ordering a bracelet, please let me know. Kathy makes them to order, so if you would like to add or modify something she can do that for you!

Esther describes her life for a college class

“....Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.” from 1 Corinthians 13 :13 is one of the most meaningful Bible verses of my life. Every day since I was first brought into this world my family has shown great faith in God our Father, hope in all that is good, and love for each other. My family is a large one, definitely one -of- a- kind, and is an important contributing factor in who I am today.

The Veggie Tales ' Veggies and The Stylistics became my favorite music groups from the time I was old enough to form memories. They remain my favorites to this day. I have had the privilege of being raised in a strong Christian family with extremely deep roots in our faith. Veggie Tales are movies that tell Bible stories in a way that young children can understand and apply to their lives. Starting or ending each day with a Veggie Tale cartoon Bible story helped me start off on the right foot when it came to my faith. The rich meanings and applications of the many Bible stories and verses I memorized when I was very young helped shape me into a strong young woman of faith. That early memorizing has also served me well in remembering details and facts now that I am in college. “Betcha By Golly Wow” is a song by the Motown group , the Stylistics, that I would listen to and sing along in the car with my mom every time we would go see one of her patients. My mom was a Midwife when we lived in Louisiana and I loved going with her to see each and every patient and little baby. This song still plays in my head when I go anywhere with my mom. She'd sing that song right to me: :"Betcha by golly wow, You're the one that I've been waiting for forever...." and it was so special and so fun! I believe singing those words to each other brought us close when I was little. Knowing we believe those words about each other keeps us close now. it . My mom is definitely one of my best friends and always will be.

“It’s better to be sweet than pretty ‘cause someone might slap the pretty off your face, than you're left with nothing,” was a warning I always heard my mom giving to my older sister Hannah when we were younger. Hannah was very conceited and vivacious. I was always the sweet, mild-mannered and friendly “go everywhere girl": my parents' nickname for me from the time I was about 2 years old. I did not need to be reminded that my sweetness was more important than my prettiness . Being the middle daughter for seven years combined with my natural-born personality I just seemed to easily develop into the laid back and gentle spirited person that I am. I was always the one who could go play by myself and have the time of my life but would still enjoy being around my family and friends. Then and now, I rarely ever get upset and when I do it does not last very long. My mom would say that I just let problems roll like water off a duck’s back. I know what I like and what I want in life; even when things don't work out exactly as I have envisioned them, I am still just as easy going as before. This laid back approach to life has greatly benefited me particularly when it comes to cooking. My entire family is great at cooking and baking, but somehow that "good cook gene" is missing from my DNA. I have messed up everything from spaghetti, chocolate chip cookies and I have even ruined an "Easy Bake Oven " cookie for my 6 year old sister.. Although I have goofed up all these different foods, I still enjoy trying to cook, with parental supervision of course. I try to stick to the outdoor chores and activities instead. My cooking errors have given our family lots of laughs at my expense, but have not caused me to compromise my sweetness or my prettiness, I have to humbly mention!

Riding horses with my daddy is definitely my very favorite pastime. I received my first horse Sugar, when I was eleven years old from my dad. I thought I was in heaven! Dad and I would go out a couple evenings a week and ride for hours. Talking, laughing, and just being together on our horses was what made life real to me and worth living. The time spent riding seemed to chase thoughts of school or anything else not related to riding horses, into a faraway dream world. Owning my own horse taught me more than any class or text book possibly could have.. Responsibility and respect: one horse showed me these extremely valuable values. Having to feed, water, and exercise another creature every day is no easy task, but I learned to thoroughly enjoy it. My horse's life depends on my not being lazy or selfish with my time each day. Sugar also reinforced the value of respect which my parents planted in my head as I was growing up. One has to respect the horse for it to give respect back. Some people that think anyone can just jump on a horse and ride off. My brother Gideon can attest to the fact that this is the farthest thing from the truth and he learned this the "hard way." Not everyone will respect another person just because they are told to, and it is the same with animals, particularly with horses. Showing pigs has reinforced much of what being a horse owner had already taught me and yet I have learned so much from my years of raising and showing pigs, too . All of these lessons stay with me and I want to keep them as a part of who I am and always will be. I may not always have pigs in my life but Sugar is one of my best friends and will be "forever" long as I show her the respect she deserves and she does the same with me.

Thinking of learning and being shaped by a best friend, immediately reminds me of my great friend Matt. Matt and I went to school together for years and we were both very involved in our FFA chapter. He always made me smile and laugh. Matt encouraged me to have fun with life. Never was there a dull moment in our five- year friendship. He always wanted to let everyone know how much God loved them no matter what was going on or who was around. Matt passed away on December 23, 2007, in a house fire. All of our friends and I were devastated. It took me several months to realize the finality of Mat's death. I think it finally , truly hit me, hit me like a sack of bricks at graduation in May of 2008 as Matt’s mom walked across the stage to receive his diploma. Oh how I missed him at that moment! Matt was the sweetest, most friendly person I have ever known, but right then when all four hundred and fifty eight graduates stood to their feet and clapped as his mom walked I realized just how loved Matt was. That scene impressed upon me that life is too precious , too short, and too uncertain to waste in making enemies or holding grudges against anyone . I am learning that I need to choose to love everyone, even when I don’t really want to. I'm learning that I should not to put off experiencing anything that I think is important for some other day. Tomorrow is simply not promised to anyone. These lessons were reinforced to me again a month after Graduation when we received word that my dad’s close friend Major Hagerty was killed in Iraq by a car bomb. We never know when God is going to call us Home to Himself and we have no real way of preparing ourselves or others for that. We can, however live our lives to their fullest. We can show God’s love through every facet of life every single day. That is how I want to live my life and how I want to be known.

Different people are influenced and shaped in different ways. I for one have been influenced by the lifestyles and the values my parents have instilled in me. Staying close to both of my parents throughout my life has helped me want to develop into a strong Christian woman who loves her family .I look forward to sharing and teaching the same values and Godly standards to my own children that my family has blessed me with

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lathering for Liberia, an Oklahoma car wash in February!

Ok so what if it was 14 degrees when I took Jael to school and when I milked the goats this morning? This is Oklahoma and the weather is as fickle as anything could be..........Oklahoma weather is the stuff school kids learn how to do AVERAGES over!
It is warming up even as I type. Tomorrow it will in the high 60s, Friday high 60s too, but windy and cloudy. Saturday my weather map tells me that it will be 71 and partly sunny, no mention of wind. I have been thinking how we have been SUPER blessed when we have done car washes for mission trips in the past and that if there were a warm day even in February, a car wash would be a great fund raiser to do. I didn't really pray hard, or fervently over the idea, but it has been floating around in my head for a good while and giving me pause to smile. The manager at the grocery store where we have had the best blessed car washes just gave us permission and said he too is very optimistic for the day and has a big cookout planned.
I love doing car wash fund raisers because we get to talk to so many people about what God has us washing cars FOR, (HIM!!!!) and we can involve the younger kiddos and the older ones too. NO over head except for soap and sponges, posters, pizza to pay the help..................Lathering for Liberia here we come!!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

"I Wonder" an adoption poem by Chris Malone

This really moved me and Chris who posts on Reece's Rainbow gave me the green light to share :

I wonder...when it was 10 days before I met God and He adopted me, was
HE this excited?

I wonder if His stomach did flips and He got tears in His eyes when He
thought about holding me for the first time.

I wonder if His heart ached when He thought about my life without Him
as my Daddy.

I wonder if it grieved Him to know that I was living as an orphan and
had no hope of a future without Him.

I wonder if He was as okay with paying my ransom as I am with paying
our boys'.

I wonder if, for Him, there was no cost too high, no sacrifice too great.

I wonder...

little things on a Monday

Jael didn't like the photo I posted of her and Caleb so she "made me" change it to this one which she customized with her pet name for Caleb ;" Teb"
And my Junior and Diamoh button.itsn't it super!!!??
My new friend Amanda who is adopting two precious children through Reece's Rainbow helped me put it together.
If you are looking for help with blog, button designs,
I recommend ~Amanda's Graphics Blog~
(Creating Headers, Buttons, Favicons, and more)
She is doing blog designs to help fund raise for her adoptions. I was happy to bless her for how she blessed me!!!