Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Incredible....35 years ago I was a teen -aged mom with yellow polish on her toe nails, giving birth in the 45th Army Field Hospital in Vicenza, Italy. TODAY I am praying fervently because the baby boy who will be my youngest son Daniel is the subject of a serious meeting in Africa tomorrow. I had hoped and prayed that I'd hear a good report on Joshua's birthday, but the day after would be fine too! We are all ready and eager for Daniel to be allowed to come home!! I have loved, I am still loving, being a mom for 35 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Our old eye care insurance plan was pretty good, except for the choice of eye docs; our new plan is a bit pricier, but THAT IS FINE WITH ME!!!! Our choice of doctors is much broader, we have LOCAL OPTIONS and this week was eye check -up week. I knew I needed a new prescription and knew Jael did too, "thought " that Isaiah was next to get glasses, and I was leaning toward Rachel following right on Isaiah's heels. I was right. Jael's eyes are much worse than a year ago, alarmingly so...to the point that even with correction she may not be able to pass the eye exam when she goes for her drivers license next spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was not prepared for that, neither was the doctor. He ran several extra tests to assess WHY her vision is so poor. Upshot is that probably where her optic nerve attaches to her brain there is a weak or faulty attachment. We will be praying over this for sure! She plans to be a large animal veterinarian and no one I know is going to choose a poor sighted doctor to do surgery on their livestock!!! Isaiah got his new glasses today , Rachel's will be in shortly. Thankfully, Isaac, Leah, Noah and Naomi had perfect checkups and thankfully our insurance covers as much as it does as well as it does!!! The kids' glasses were far less costly than I expected, as were my own progressive bifocal lenses (whew!!!) I'd know if Malachi needed new glasses this year or not, but the glitch with the insurance is that despite Malachi definitely being listed on our policy, the vision carrier doesn't have him listed. ( Found that out when he went last week, taking time off work, and was told that he is not covered. Four phone calls and 3 emails later with our HR rep, and I was told and emailed that he was on the list, the problem had been fixed. NOT SO even today when the clinic clerk told me they were still denying him. MORE calls to HR for help...............)Hope its fixed by his next appointment on Tuesday!! I bet Esther has a perfect eye exam.
After getting the overly tight thumb screw off my new sewing machine so I could change the needle Hannah broke the other night, tonight I finished ripping apart the diaper bag she bought for Charlie, cut up an old BDU Marine uniform ( "camo" for the lay reader) and recovered all the flaps and pockets of the beige bag with military fabric, and added the name and US MARINE tags from Jon's uniform as well. That was some thick sewing but I am so pleased with how it turned out!! I think Hannah will like it too when she sees it at her baby shower on Saturday. I'm not done crocheting her baby-camo colored cargo net -looking afghan for Baby Charlie's room yet, but JUST GET ME ON A PLANE TO LIBERIA AND IT WILL BE!!!!!! They simply didn't keep me waiting long enough at the doctor last week when Isaac and Jael both injured ankles, or at the eye doc either, for me to get any real work done!!! LOL!
When it got cold and rainy last night and knocked out the power and inter net for the night, and the moring was still cold and gray I thought it would be cold all day so I planned a big pot of barley soup with home baked bread for dinner. HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor Daddy Charlie ended up in a sweat over dinner. We don't usually do hot soups on hot summer days, but it was a request by several of the children that I do barley soup and bread. NOT A CRUMB of bread was left, they practically "rock,paper, scissored" over the last slice. It was delicious nonetheless and adding some fresh diced squash to the veggie mix in the soup didn't hurt it at all!
FINALLY started to harvest green beans today. The Mamma of Calico Acres ate almost all the beans, raw, and they were really yummy! Guess we'll need to harvest a lot more tomorrow if there will be beans to go with the last home grown ham for Sunday dinner. I can be assured that I will have an abundance of squash and zuchinni ifthe beans are not enough.
I love this farm life, love to create, love to nurture our children, love what God had in mind for my once-upon-a -time Big City girl life.
Monday, July 27, 2009
4th of July 2007, my three favorite youngest sons!
LOVE watching Leah ride. Esther taught her well!
Jael Rachel and Naomi play dressup for the Photo op!
grown kids come home to raid the fridge.gotta love it!
Who but our Hannah would go for a jump on the trampoline in her wedding gown? She did, with new daughter Mady and littlest sister Naomi, who were two of her flower girls
Naomi, in one of her first days with us in Vietnam
Malachi and Esther in Cambodia with their youngest brother while we fought at home with the govt to get Isaiah Guhn Kear home with his already adopted bio sib sisters. These three have a very special bond!
Heavenly Father as I thank You for the health of my children, even for our Naomi whose Hep B counts remain so high but exhibits no signs of genuine illness, I praise you that these children are in families who are able to obtain good quality medical care for them. I am reminded again of the many who are not able to get medical care for their loved ones, like Matthew..............or even our Daniel right now............ Father, Please direct the doctors to use their skills and talents to diagnose and treat Abby and Naomi, to Your glory. By Your Holy Spirit, comfort these families and keep them from fear. Thank You that we can lift them up together as Your body. Thank You for the technology that allows us all around the country and the world to share our prayer requests and our praises with each other.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
James Dobson is quoted as saying,"I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living.
When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses, land, stocks and bonds ~ nor is fame of any lasting benefit.
I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me.
Nothing else makes much sense."
Someone shared that quote with my prayer and fellowship group this morning and all I could say was "amen" as I read it.
His words took on a new meaning for me as my day unfolded. Hannah and Jon had enrolled 11 1/2 year old Blake in the local Christian school, and applied for a scholarship to help with tuition.Jon is still out of work, but part of his child support for Blake was supposed to go toward helping Blake get into a better school environment, for more spiritual support for Jon and Hannah as parents, and just more structure and support all around for Blake. He has been excited about it right down to "YAY" for uniforms!!!, and then the money became an issue. Again. I suggested that we do a scholarship car wash for Blake, and set it up. When Hannah and Jon told Blake about doing a car wash for school money, he asked if it was just going to be the three of them. Hannah said,"No, Grammy, Pappa Charlie, the kids, probably (our boy's friends) Peter and Andy, maybe Abby." He said "WHAT???????????????????" "They are doing that for ME??" "They know they don't HAVE TO do this , right?" "WHY do they want to help me?" He could not get his mind around the fact that family and friends just help each other.To explain: His bio- mom and living situation have never been like that and as a result, Blake himself can be pretty difficult to hang out with. His worldview is pretty much what his mom has taught him by example and word..."Its all about me, get out of my way, I am going to get what's mine...ME first, You want it? Get it YOUR OWN SELF." I cried when Hannah shared Blake's reaction with me. He has helped us with a couple of mission trip car washes when it was his weekend with Jon and Hannah, but he just did it because Jon told him that's what was going on that day. That FAMILY, particularly "step" family, or friends, would spend a day in the 96 degree heat on a Saturday hoping for cars to wash SO THEY COULD GIVE THE MONEY TO BLAKE was so big to him! Sadly, his bio mom didn't come, his third Gramma didn't stop by except to say "hi" and leave. It was not the most "successful" car wash we've ever done, in terms of dollars, but as I thought about that, thought about how we were really ministering to Blake just by BEING there: Dobson's words came back to me with a fresh meaning. I knew they were totally true. I didn't know God was going to bless me with such a down home object lesson to "prove" it.
My grandson needs to know in so many ways that are not familiar to him, that he is loved just for being Blake, that he has value, that he is deserving of invested time and effort, that THIS is how God designed and intends family: blood family, "Step" family, adopted family, Body of Christ family, to love each other. Someone told me the other day that this is the "Royal Command" that we love each other as ourselves. I wasn't thinking about Blake when I heard that expression, I wasn't thinking about the reality of a "Royal Command" when we were all out hopping up and down on the sidewalk with our CAR WASH signs( which Hannah and I painted last night) or taking turns washing dirty cars and trucks and advertising out on the sidewalk. I wans't thinking when I planned a car wash for Blake's tuition that it would be anything more than washing cars for tuition. It was FAR BEYOND that. If we'd made $10, it wouldn't have made much difference. GOD'S PLAN for the day was that we show Blake how He wants us to get real and love each other. By the end of the day, Blake had been ministered to maybe more than weeks of anything else could have ministered. Blessed be the Name of the Lord for how He knew to direct us to love on Blake!!
Yet, in all that , I am still "Stuck" on Africa. There is still bickering going on over Matthew, a little less perhaps amidst the sadness, but bickering and a lot of defensive behavior. My prayers have been for the deep hurts that have occured in all the events which led up to Matthew's death. My prayers are in line with the Psalmist and with the words of the song..."Blessed be Yor Name"......"when the darkness closes in Lord, STILL I will say: Blessed be the Name of the Lord, Blessed be Your Name" and I am praying for comfort for those aching hearts beating in the bodies of Matthew's birth mom, his adoptive family who had loved him since last fall, his would've-been-adopted-brother Charles, who is still an orphan in Liberia, the family who was all lined up and prepared to welcome him into their home as a medical visa host family, the agency people who worked to help Matthew.............Any and all of those could grow a root of bitterness, lay blame, be angry, sidestep responsibility, or even lose hope. FORBID IT LORD! The Psalmist David in 2 Samuel 22 (read the whole chapter PLEASE? Its powerful!!!) Anyhow in verse 4 David says "I will call uoon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies"
Our enemies ARE OFTEN heart attitudess like unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, lost hope. they are enemies sent by The enemy, Satan to defeat us and take our eyes off the FACT that OUR GOD REIGNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! David says later in that 22nd chapter (see I told you it was powerful) in verses 29-37
"For You are a lamp oh Lord , The Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run agaisnt a troop: By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of the Lord is proven: He is a shield to all who trust him. For who is God , except the Lord? And Who is a rock, except our God? God is my strength and power, And he makes my way perfect. He makes my feet liek the feet of deer and sets me on high places. He teaches me to make war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me a shield of Your salvation: Your gentleness has made me great, You enlarged my path under me; so my feet did not slip."
God prepares us, equips us, for war against our enemy/enemies. In some contexts that refers to actual physical enemies, but often David's enemies, like our own, are right from 2 Corinthians 10:4.."strongholds, arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God" And Paul reminds us that our weapons are not carnal. He tells us in Ephesians 6 again that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, rulers of darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness
in the heavenly places." Paul teaches about putting on the whole armor of God.
When something happens that stirs our human emotions, God wants us to take those emotions and let Him work through them. HE made us and our emotions. The enemy would like nothing better than for us to give in to every thought which would take our eyes off of our God, stir up and add in all kinds of thoughts of losing our faith, doubting God, drawing into our own selves for comfort.
To all whose emotions are raw this week, to all who are rejoicing, to all who are waiting for their answers, Paul has words for us all too. "PEACE TO THE BRETHREN, AND LOVE WITH FAITH, FROM GOD THE FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. GRACE BE WITH ALL THOSE WHO LOVE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN SINCERITY." Eph 6:23
Praying praying praying for God to be glorified in all that happened this week, all over His world, but I'm a bit stuck on Africa. In my prayers is also the deep hope that our Secret/Daniel Elijah, not be the next Matthew. It could happen.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
He was about 3. He needed umbilical hernia surgery more than a year ago. In March when I met him, at our own Junior and Diamoh's orphanage, he was rolly poly, he laughed and smiled and even spoke...mostly to say "I'm gonna beat you up!". He had some spina bifida issues, he needed more medical help than was available in Liberia. His adoptive Mom, H, had gone to Liberia in February in hopes of getting a medical visa for him if an adoption was not possible (the suspension on adoptions in Liberia had just started several weeks earlier), but some things didn't come together the way she'd hoped. Matthew was starting to get pressure sores from the weight of the grapefruit sized umbilical herniation on his tummy. Several of us treated those wounds, showed nannies how to keep up the treatments after we'd left, even his soon-to-be-adoptive brother Charles, 13, helped out. We all wanted Matthew to do well, and be well. Somewhere after late March, some thing changed. Matthew got sick, really sick. He lost a lot of weight, he began to fade. A lot of ugly things were being said, some people made accusations regarding Matthew, BUT: he STILL needed surgery, he still needed to be adopted, at the very least he needed to be where he could get really good medical care for his little lumpy, bumpy, twisted body. As I understand it, money was raised to help him, from several sources, somehow he had surgery in Liberia, but not until after he had gotten really sick and lost that weight. I have read accusations and innuendos, no kidding: about whose money was better. It was shameful! I saw photos of Matthew taken after we'd left Liberia and I could barely believe they WERE Matthew! He was thin thin thin, his skin barely covering his bones actually, weak and pasty colored. A lot of "stuff" happened that I don't know details about, I have my own opinions, but who doesn't??
Matthew died this morning or late last night. I could not believe that news.
I do not believe that Liberia had dead babies with special needs in mind when the suspension was imposed to correct irregularities and possible "marketing " allegations of non- orphans being matched with families and adopted.....I don't dispute that this was possible and probable. NO provisions were made for any cases when the suspension began however. A "new law" was ordered to be written and passed to protect the children of Liberia..................THAT was January. Last night was July 22. To date there is no new law any where near passage and Matthew is dead.
The military expression for this kind of tragedy is a rather pragmatic one: "collateral damage" and it means the unintended outcome of designated actions.
The gossip and ugly posts on some of the Liberian adoptive family email groups aka "lists" is shameful. The braggings on the part of some about their organizations being "better" "transparent" "ethical" etc etc, what THEY have done as opposed to what "others" have or have not done, is nauseating. A BABY DIED, unnecessarily. A medical visa was requested, after all the details were worked out, even with the adoptive mom in Liberia, and our government denied it. THAT was not Liberia. THAT was our government. Has the adoptive community banded together to demand an answer for this travesty of justice? Not yet, and I suspect that as long as one agency can blame another and spew "This would NEVER happen on MY watch!" kinds of rhetoric, it will not. There are other life-threatened special needs children in Liberia, needing their adoptive families to be able to complete their adoptions and get those children home BEFORE they too become "collateral damage." I wonder if Matthew's tragic, and again I say, unnecessary, death, will serve as a catalyst in dealing with this suspension of all adoptions, be motivation to write a good law, process the cases waiting already, address the special needs children who don't HAVE time to wait out a suspension and the writing of new laws, ie, do something that is truly FOR the good of the children. I won't post the "after " photo of Matthew. This photo is how I remember a sweet little guy who needed a good break, and didn't get it. He is with Jesus now. That is better for Matthew, in light of what didn't happen in a timely fashion for him on earth. I would just love for his life , which ended much too soon, to become a symbol for the needed adoption provisons for the truly needy children of Liberia, and the poster child for new laws with teeth, and ethical compassion. I am sure that his birth mother is grieiving over the loss of her son, for whom she had such hopes of a better quality of life, as is H, his adoptive mom, who met both Matthew and his birth mom, and also loved him. The lady/ family who was matched with him later on to help with a second attempt at a medical visa, cared for him too. Those of us who had been in Liberia and cared for him at all, we too are grieving. He was "our little boy". I am sad for what happened to Matthew. I will be sadder still, if the events which led to his death do not contribute to a better plan for adoption and child care in Liberia ...............................
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
And I have to tell you all, the Pecan Pie cake recipe is long and looks very complicated, but its not . AND I'm so used to it it doesn't look long to me any more.
I hope some of you will give it a try. If that's just too much, one of my other favs is to cook a bag of extra wide egg noodles, in a seaprate pan, heat up 2 or 3 cans of Cream of Chicken soup, DO NOT DILUTE, pour over the noodles. NOT healthy, probably not very nutritious, but fast ,easy comfort food from my childhood, and my kids love it too.
No more real concrete news about Daniel, but the word I have received this week has been guardedly optimistic and I have been talking to our travel agenct about buying tickets to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so thrilled for him, excited for them as a family and before the throne of God for them as their friend and sister in the Lord. I have no idea when I'll hear more update-news, but for now I am excited as can be that Eric may be able to be WELL. Yes, still diabetic, but NOT kidney-transplant- list sick , almost all the time.
Please take a moment from your reading and blog hopping to thank the Lord for this opportunity for Eric?
Monday, July 20, 2009
This week's McLinky is FAVORITE RECIPES. If you've read my blog before you know this is IT. Since I found it in October 1998, its usually my Thanksgiving signature dessert, it has also become my "by request" for other special occasions desert too. Its as delicious as it is beautiful!!
PECAN PIE CAKE
Preparation time: 35 minutes
3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 recipe Pecan Pie Filling
1 recipe Pastry Garnish (optional)
Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly into 3 generously buttered ( use 1/2 cup divided) 9-inch round cakepans; OR 2 10 inch round pans, shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.
Beat 1/2 cup butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Add flour and baking soda to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in remaining 1 cup finely chopped pecans.
Beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form; fold one-third of egg whites into batter. Fold in remaining egg whites. (Do not overmix.) Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert layers onto wax paper-lined wire racks. Brush tops andsides of layers with corn syrup, and cool completely.
Pecan Pie cake filling
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Place a sheet of wax paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4 hours.
Note: To chill filling quickly, pour filling into a bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Whisk constantly until cool (about 15 minutes).
Spread half of Pecan Pie Filling on 1 layer, pecan side up. Place second layer, pecan side up, on filling; spread with remaining filling. Top with remaining layer, pecan side up.
Pie crust leaf garnish
16 to 20 pastry leaves; 12 pecan pastries
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
24 pecan halves
Unfold piecrusts, and press out fold lines. Cut 8 to 10 leaves from each piecrust with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter, and mark leaf veins using tip of a knife. Reserve pastry trimmings. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water, and brush on pastry leaves.
Crumple 10 to 12 small aluminum foil pieces into 1/2-inch balls. Coat with vegetable cooking spray, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drape a pastry leaf over each ball; place remaining pastry leaves on baking sheet.
Bake at 425° for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Gently remove foil from leaves.
Pinch 12 pea-size pieces from pastry trimmings. Place between pecan halves, forming sandwiches. Cut remaining pastry into 2-inch pieces; wrap around pecan sandwiches, leaving jagged edges to resemble half-shelled pecans. Brush with egg mixture. Place on baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.
Arrange Pastry Garnish on and around cake, if desired.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Naomi holding one of our garden's hugest treaures so far this year!
Dinner preparation...Sopheak and Rachel
Naomi helps cook some extra meat on the big grill
Thursday, July 16, 2009
to a manageable formula that keeps life safe. God often does the
unexplainable just to keep us on our toes -- and also on our
-- Warren Wiersbe
Yesterday I was able to give away my first two baskets of home grown veggies! Those colorful goodies are so fun to share and it is amazing that already we have an abundance from which to give out. Thank You Father for giving to us so richly that there is always more than enough to share, and especially right now!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
and leaves the house.............thinking that the ever illusive "someone" got those hot dogs. No. At the lake, I set out drinks, started the fire, got out the skewers for hot dogs and marshmallows, we swam, the coals got hot. Malachi asked where the hot dogs were. SILENCE from the Mamma......"Mom? Are they still in the microwave?" "YES THEY ARE." Marshmallow sandwiches with ketchup didn't sound too appetizing so we came home and heated up the waiting hot dogs. The lake was very refreshing in any event. It was one of those 104+ days today and until I actually got in the water, I didn't think anything could feel cool today. Its fun being able to share lots of our regular Oklahoma outings with Sopheak and fun for her to have those memories for....................later, after August 6, but we won't talk about August yet. There is still a lot of July left. On a different note, Charlie is up in Michigan with Jael and Leah. Both girls got their first experience on a beach with REAL SAND. In Oklahoma, we mostly have rocks, or grass, no beaches like at an ocean or at Lake Huron. They loved the idea, but that water was too cold for our GRITS (Girls Raised In The South, if you don't know that acronym). They stayed on the sand.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Well first of all, you probably don't know that I have never grown my hair past my shoulder blades. Not so important, but true.
Secondly, that I crochet doilies: those lovely quaint, old-fashioned arm chair covers, table spreads, framable cotton thread delicacies... and I've even crocheted dozens of doily -patterned Christmas ornament- sized angels and snow flakes. They are not so difficult once my fingers adjust to the fine texture of the thread and the tiny size of the hook. I am more accustomed to larger hooks with which I have made many many afghans over many years for many loved ones! A wonderful Puerto Rican lady named Marie Wilson taught me to crochet when I was a very young Army bride of 18 and we were all stationed in Vicenza, Italy. She spoke slightly broken English and was not sure she could teach a left-handed person, but she did, and I think fondly of her every time I start a new crochet project.
Thirdly, in addition to the 7 biological children, 7 adopted children and 3 waiting Liberian children God blessed us with, we have 7 babies already in Heaven. One of those is Hannah's twin, whom God called Home and left for us the unexpected surprize that Hannah was still with us!***
From the online devotional PROVERBS 31: one of my favorite places to go while sipping my first cup of morning coffee
Satan wants us to entertain a very dangerous thought: "Why doesn't Jesus work for me?" This is never the right question. Instead, when circumstances shift and we feel like we fall short, we should ask, "How can I see Jesus even in this?"
The only way I can ask myself this question is when I pull back from whatever situation I'm facing and separate my circumstance from my identity.
Now let's state what is true. Despite my feelings, my identity stayed the same. I am a loving mom. I am a giving person. I am a woman who takes her responsibilities seriously. I am a daughter of the King.
All of this is true despite my failures."
I'm enclosing the link later so you can read the entire devotional if you'd like, but this particular section is SO SO SO "right on" I had to give credit to its source and share it with you. The writer tells the story of how she had made a pretty big blooper, after thinking that what she was doing was going to get her lots of big pats on the back and much praise heaped onto her head. The truth of the matter is bloopers or heads heaped with praise, we are still God's imperfect , "I need Thee every hour" people and the enemy wants us to forget that as quickly as we can. He'll use any and every scheme to accomplish that goal. Causing us to stumble, grumble or bumble is near the top on his "to do list" I suspect. The writer's terrific paragraph referring to the thought we may have of Jesus "working for US" (or "Jesus working FOR us," and not through us") is is a big stumble, particularly when we hear so much "Christian Lite preaching " as I heard one mega-church's teaching described the other day: theology encouraging us to essentially put Jesus to work for us..."Lord I need this," "Lord please get me that" "Lord please do this...TODAY"... when our prayers should really be "Lord How can I WORK for you today?" "How can You work through me today?" "How can I see You better today?" We do ask the Lord for things, for answers, direction..SO TRUE!!! We were told in scripture that we may come BOLDLY before the Throne of Grace, but not to present a "Christmas list"...but rather that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." The focus goes right back to our insufficiency, and God's incredible eagerness to pour out on us what He knows we need! I hope you are blessed by the "Brownie Debaucle" as I was !!!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Razor cuts on short hair are hazardous to the eyes, (so much flying short hair!) so after she started up the back of my head, and I saw 1/2 inch pieces hitting the apron and the floor,I closed my eyes...not that keeping them open can UN-cut hair , but I closed my eyes. She got to my crown, asked if it looked right or needed to be a bit shorter. I thought it looked like it needed maybe a quarter of an inch more off so I could still spike it next week when it started to grow again. I said "Just a TINY TINY bit shorter on top I think."
I guess the only good part about that is that the much- much- much-longer-than-1/2 inch or even 3/4 inch hairs which started coming off did not get into my eyes. When I opened my eyes even with my glasses OFF I could immediately tell I had trouble. She innocently asked,"How's that?" and I am sure that before words hit the air she could tell by my face that the words were not of the "You're getting a great big tip" variety. Al l Icould say was "This is much shorter than I asked for. I don't know what I am going to DO with this." She put goop in my hair, she punked it out, she pulled and twisted, I closed my eyes again. I didn't want to see any more.
When she got done, it was spikey, for sure, but I can now pass for any of my brothers.
Charlie HATES short hair and I try to keep it as long as I can without it BEING long, because I don't like long hair for me. I knew this was NOT going to be what image of me he wanted in his mind to go to Michigan for a week to see his mom . I walked in and said, "This is the second worst haricut of my life." He graciously said "whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, we can agree on your hair. I was afraid you were going to say you liked it."
NEXT STOP: BELK, Old Navy, JC Penney, SOMEWHERE............. to look for a few cute hats or scarves for short term camoflage. I have been watching with delight as Abby Rigg's hair has been growing back,(disclaimer: Michelle AND Abby said this was absolutely fine to post) and seriously today, I think Abby has me beat. RACE YA ABBY to bangs getting onto your eyes!!!??? On your mark, get set, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Needed a trim, got 4 of them...all at once!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Ribs and Rose, the twins, Moses Pork Chop and Aaron, brothers from different mothers
Brownie, my best milk goat, that's Satsuma in the background , lying down
My 2009 Mother's Day rose bush, showing off!
A patch of the red, white and blue front yard garden. White Dusty Miller, Blue Salvia and red GEraniums and Dianthus. There is a red and a white rose bush, lots more geraniums, delphiniumm and white Dianthus surrounding these as well.
The goat pasture is bordered to the west by Formosa trees. The "frothy" "fluffy" blooms on these trees never cease to please me!!
had to show one more...the blooming season is so short, they are already starting to fade. The blooms on a Formosa are at the top of the tree. These are probably at least 30-40 feet up in the air. I can really only see the blooms from my upstairs patio. These shots are with a zoom , and aimed almost straight up!!!
Pumpkin, busting out of the garden and heading for the horse pastures! The yellow bulbs are baby pumpkins. The biggest ones right now are bigger than a soft ball but not as big as a junior sized soccer ball.
can't wait til this corn is ready to pick and eat!Two weeks ago the squash plants were no where near the corn...now they are bumped right up into the corn row... I think I need a bigger garden next year!!
squash.......so yummy freshly picked ,stir fried with freshly picked green and orange peppers and some onion, add garlic and fresh ground pepper......OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you seen trailers for the up-coming movie "Orphan"? The sub title says "there's something wrong with Esther....." the underlying premise being that because she's an orphan, this girl is damamged goods who will do nothing but bring destruction to her family. Movie images can furrow deeply into the minds of the viewer and this kind of message is NOT the message God has given us as to orphaned children. Like so many topics in Hollywood, this seems to have been stretched and twisted to its worst possible outcome, but that twisitng could influence the reasoning of someone considering adoption, and not in a positive way.
Won't you go the this web site :http://www.orphansdeservebetter.org/
and see how you can become involved (I KNOW, many of you are SO involved already!) or maybe a little bit more, in promoting what is good about adoption, foster care, adoption support organizations? There is a petition that you can sign to send Hollywood your message of non-support for this kind of film. Those whom God refers to as "the least of these" certainly do deserve BETTER than a film like "Orphan" to tell their story! Share this website everywhere you can!!!!
It is our obligation to speak out on behalf of orphans. God had given each one of us a voice in our communities and some of you globally.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Thank you, everyone who knew and who prayed. AS details got straightened out......second hand info being what it is, Kip's dad was not struck by lightening here in Stillwater as she'd been told originally , but that Kip and family were on a beach together in Florida.Storm coming in... Kip felt a small jolt, and thought little of it but looked around at his mom, dad and sister and saw that they were lying, knocked flat on the beach!!!!!!!!!!!! The mom and sister are still in the hospital, but Kip's dad died. This reminded me so much of a news story I heard from Maryland a few weeks ago when two young boys were struck by lightening while throwing a baseball, after their Little League referee called their game for the in-coming storm. The boy who threw the ball was struck and was killed...the lightening traveled with the pitched ball and struck the other boy. He lived, but was injured pretty badly himself. Lightening is serious stuff, plain and simple. Its amamzing how fussing about a quick hard rain storm and what it did to my veggies turned into a season of prayer for a family forever affected by a similar storm. Once again I was reminded of how very much I have to be thankful for, and that I should NOT complain about ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, "He gives and takes away.....Blessed be the Name of the Lord" Some of us were talking about that song just the other day, sending phrases back and forth to each other ...."though the darkness closes in Lord, STILL I WILL SAY BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD"
My prayers are with the Paxton family tonight as I trust God to be glorified even in this sad and unexpected time.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We worked in the garden quite a bit today and were rewarded for our efforts with quite a few great sized cucumbers, tomatoes and squash, and a few peppers. We sliced those cukes up right away and in incredible crunching speed, they were gone! Who knew cucumber was energy food to go out fishing on? It worked, because even Naomi caught fish today as well as Isaac, Malachi and Sopheak : they caught a LOT OF FISH and helped me plan at least two meals for later in the week!!!
After we took the kids to our favorite "Kids eat free on Tuesdays" restaurant for dinner, Charlie and I got to go out for a while. We went bowling. I've missed not bowling every week since the league season ended in May, and REALLY had fun when we took the kids for Noah's birthday. Bowling with just Charlie was a bit more "serious" bowling, but still a lot of fun! I came away pleased with my self after bowling a 161, 144 ,and a 168, and having made most of my spares. Spares don't always go so well for me. Tonight my aim was fairly accurate. Charlie did pretty well, but it wasn't his best night.
Esther told us at dinner tonight that she'd been named Employee of the Month for June. She works so hard at her server /shift lead job at Mexico Joe's I am always so pleased when she gets official recognition. (she is our favorite employee!!) YAY ESTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have a contest going on right now among the servers to see who gets the most positive comments turned in about them and so far she was leading after all of yesterday and today's turned in comment cards. There are a coule of pretty nifty prizes, plus that's just fun! She's a pretty popular server and quite a few customers come in and wait for seats in her section rather than take the first table available. In her sweet gregarious but absolutely void of hubris- way, she winks and says 'I'm just a stud at life!" That's my girl!
Jael who has so much fun BEING Jael loves anything VEGGIE TALES. When I found a cd yesterday we did't have yet, I got it and tonight she was just dancing up a storm to Bob and Larry and their Silly Songs. Her favorite? " I Love My Lips" IF you know Jael at all, you know this is almost autobiographical!
Monday, July 6, 2009
When you have a family as large as ours with as many experiences and adventures as we have had, its hard, really hard, to select just one photo. This one however, has stood the test of time. Its my almost 35 year old son reading to his now almost 26 year old brother from one of our all time favorite books: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak. Joshua was almost 11 and Caleb was not yet 2; this was taken in our tiny Spartan Village Student housing apartment at Michigan State University right before my husband was commissioned in the US Army and we moved to Ft Belvoir, Virginia . Also included in the move was newborn Gideon, who didn't develope a love for WILD THINGS until some time later. Eleven other children later, we still have several copies of WILD THINGS around and still pull one out for a good rumpus session together!!
Naomi fell asleep this afternoon ON the arms of the sofa and the rocking chair!!
What was everyone most worried about? That she'd drool all over the place. I just thought it was funny, and a little cutsie too!
My 4th of July trademark dessert was a bit different this year. My oven is broken and it is really hard to bake in an oven which generates no heat. PLAN B: no bake cheese cake, in my HUGE cake pan, chill it, make real whipped cream to top it, and top that with blueberries and strawberries to create an American flag. OH YUM!!!
Close -up of one of my daughters' favorite activities: taking photos of themselves!
Esther and Jael having a Big sister-Little sister bonding photo-op moment!!
Isaac's best pal Peter has a successful afternoon at our favorite fishing spot. These were shortly hereafter grilled for dinner!
It is a glorious strangely un-Oklahoma July day: only mid to high 80s. When you are used to low hundreds, that 80 stuff feels almost CHILLY!!!!!!!!!!! When you LIKE it in the hundreds and wear a hoodie on an 85 degree da and family laughs at you, you KNOW you are SOUTHERN...South USA, South (East) Asian, SOUTHERN! Sopheak and I are both in hoodies !
It is one of those days when it was worth it to me to make a special trip to the grocery store because none of the ingredients I needed for what I wanted to cook were in my pantry or freezer!! Tonight we are having Chicken Tetrazzini and it will be wonderful. It is one of my favorites and my Taste of Home Magazine recipe is the best I have ever tried!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Those things which our Forefathers met over and discussed, argued, tooled and retooled as men took up arms to begin a long fight for what would ultimately be the creation of a new nation, are solid principles, not made of "Silly Putty" to be manipulated at the whim of the current holder, but God inspired and centered-principles. I plan to read our Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights at dinner today as we enjoy our back yard bar-be-que . The Bill of Rights came some years after the fighting, after the victory and while people were proudly calling themselves citizens of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, but the theories, the gut-held beliefs in and of those Rights was a huge part of why the Colonists fought. I can't claim "Daughters of the American Revolution" bragging rights. My grandparents came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th century...to escape tyranny in other parts of the world. My family, probably most of yours, ARE the "huddled masses longing to be free" that the inscription on the Statue of Liberty refer to. We are the ultimate benefactors of everything the Framers and Fore Fathers of the United States of America stood, and fought for in the court houses and on the battle fields. Adding children whom we've adopted from other countries adds to my belief in the principles of the United States. Those principles were not practiced in their countries, and we all recognize how vast are the differences.
I am proud to be an American. I have always been proud to be an American. I pray that the day never comes when I do not want to proudly make that declaration. Regardless, on any given day, I will not cease to be humbly excited to be a Citizen of Heaven, where God, not a document is the Law of the Land , and where no amendments ever need to be added or repealed. AMERICA..............BLESS GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, July 3, 2009
IF you didn't see the ultra-sound link or take the time to watch the whole video,that is QUITE quite OK..................but from that session at the ultrasound office is this photo.
Baby Charlie has his arms tucked behind his head, so his elbows are sticking out. Look at that peaceful expression on his face.............isn't he beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
How amazing is this!! We watched our grandson stretch, yawn, kick his feet and put his hands behind his head to get comfortable............we could really SEE his face. We all decided that he looks most like his paternal gramma at this point, VERY Pacific Islander. We were not able to see feet or ears, items we were hoping to see because the family joke right now is that for the way he kicks he must have his Mommy's big feet, and since granddaughter Madyson has her daddy's very visible ears, and Baby Charlie must have them too, we've lovingly called him "Baby Thumper".
Guess we will have to wait for his birth to keep the nickname or scrap it!!
Grampa Charlie (Pappa Charlie) had not seen an ultrasound before ever, so this was a really cool techno-moment for him as well as a Grammpa moment. Once again, I don't know why the hyper-link WON'T link for me, but if you are interested, you may copy and paste the non-hyper-link :-( and go see Baby Charlie for yourselves
Precious words, not profound, not lengthy, but so welcome !!!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This is a Foursquare Church in Raytown, MO. This all happened yesterday.
"Today started like any other day. A day to see what Jesus would do in my city. A day to sign a contract to buy a former hospital � a great building to help poor working families get out of pay by the week motels.
Today was the day to sign the contract for the purchase of the former 150,000 sq ft Park Lane Hospital. We needed $60,000 to fulfill our down payment oblation and get the utilities changed into our name.
Eight weeks ago we had no money for the contract. We have seen an outpouring of love and faith as $50,000 came in.
At 4:00 pm yesterday I blogged that we were $10,000 short and had less than 24 hours until the contract needed to be signed.
At 9:00 pm last night a Foursquare Pastor in Colorado gave $1,000.
At 10:30 am this morning two more checks were hand delivered to the River office for $500 each. This left us $8,000 short and a contract to be signed at 1:30 pm.
At 1:00 pm a reporter and a photographer from the Kansas City Star came to the office to witness the contract signing. I did not tell them we were short $8,000. We simply sat and visited.
At 1:10 pm I got a phone call that the Real Estate Agent was in route with the contract and he would be on site at 1:30 pm.
At 1:15 pm a lady who I did not know was coming interrupted my visit with the reporters. She asked if we still needed $8000 for the Hospital contract. I said, �Yes we do.� She quietly handed me an envelope with $5,500 in cash and then proceeded to write a check for $2,500!
The Reporters were quite taken back by this as I informed them that NOW we had enough money with 15 minutes to spare. As you can imagine this cause quite a stir especially as the Real Estate Agent walked in and was shown the cash and told the miraculous story behind it.
So... it�s done the contract is signed. Now we have 2 years to raise 1 million dollars to pay off the hospital and in the mean time hurting families in my city are going to be helped in Jesus� name."
��if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.� Isaiah 58:10
This email was sent to you via the River Christian Fellowship web site:
WHY has it taken this long to get to the point of recognizing my deficits? The adoption coordinator resigned in DECEMBER, is the reason I was given. They have our 171 H and home study, with its addendum. The issues above are all mentioned, covered, and included in home study, and the 171H issuance. How we got to this from " we need to seize the opportunity while the government is still interested in his case" I do not know. God IS IN CONTROL, His timing is PERFECT, His creatures: His people ARE NOT. Keep me from growing critical or bitter, anxious or fearful Lord. THESE are not fruits of Your Spirit, but weeds You will have to dig and gouge out should I allow them to take a root!
My prayer has been for Daniel in all this hurry up and wait, that GOD keep his hydrocephaly from advancing any further until he is able to be home, be assessed and have his oh-so-necessary ---- surgery. As summer and my window of more convenient/practical/WHOLE FAMILY PICTURE/ scheduling slips away, I have to take even my very calendar and lay it at the feet of my Lord. Please pray with me for Daniel and his process and his getting home? Its hard enough to wait on government issues to clear up so we can bring Junior and Diamoh home, but they are healthy children.