Monday, August 31, 2009

I Will Lift My Eyes to the Maker of the Mountains I Can't Climb

In Hannah Hurnard's classic allegorical story, HIND'S FEET IN HIGH PLACES, the main character Little Much Afraid learns fairly early on in her journey to the High Places with her Shepherd that when she sings, it chases away her Cowardly relatives (my favorite one being Craven Fear...a really well written character). I read this book for the first time when I was about 12 and a line from the book stuck has stuck with me through my whole life, even the unGodly parts. When Little Much Afraid shares her news with her Shepherd, He gently tells her , Then you MUST become a singer!" God called me to be a singer when I was 4 and interrupted a prayer meeting to share that missionaries had taught me to sing "I Will Make You Fishers of Men" in Korean. My mother aghast and embarrassed pulled me down quickly and tried to hush me up. It didn't work. I sang all though school, sang though college, sang everywhere I could sing. I could not hold it back. YEARS LATER...Our first Sunday in our new church in Woodbridge, Virginia, fall of 1985. The worship leader had a word she said, from the Lord for someone right then. That word was that God was calling that person out to be a Praise and Worship singer, possibly a leader. Her name was also Linda, and she invited the person to whom God was speaking to come forward for prayer. My heart began to thump and pound as though it would surely burst from within me! Our fist Sunday in this church, new to Virginia, two small boys in arms, we'd brought a friend of my husband's with us ....and I had to peel those babies off me and respond to that invitation. I KNEW THAT I KNEW IT WAS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been singing for the Lord ever since. I am the first to admit I am not a GREAT worship leader, or a GREAT singer, maybe not even very good, but that passion of the Lord within me does things through me that go beyond amazing me. God is the air I breathe, His Word is my food and drink, and music is the ground on which I walk I think.
I have only set a few scriptures to music that are worthy of being shared anywhere, but music flows out of me all the time. It ministers to me and I understand how David could sing out his emotions to the Lord in the Psalms. He is my musical soul mate, if I may make that jump.
Today the song on my heart is I Will Lift My Eyes. A dear friend made a comment this morning to me about the Maker of the mountains and immediately I was singing this song. OH YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! " my cry to my Lord is "Your beloved needs You NOW!!"
Listen to the sound track and let God's mercy 's melody flow over you, and be blessed!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Children, dedicated to the Lord

There is still no word from anyone regarding Daniel's case. I didn't expect any word over the weekend, but several friends contacted me to say that God had awakened them during the night or early this morning to pray for Daniel. A friend from church sensed that too, and she prayed a prayer for him this morning in church as heart felt as if it had been me: myself. Several other people have shared our prayer request in their blogs and I am so humbly grateful to know that hundreds of people I don't know and a few that I do, are lifting up my sweet son and our waiting family, before the throne. THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I sang "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" this morning in worship, I knew so very well, that was exactly where I was leaning and where I had placed Baby Daniel. Many contemporary songs are perhaps "more fun" to sing than some of the classic hymns ,but in my spirit, when I need a musical boost, a lot of the time God will minister that boost to me through hymns. To remind me that He has gifted many new musicians, God also impressed upon my heart that I lead "Awesome God", "I Will Rise" and "Blessed Be Your Name" which NEVER fails to minister to me. The words to that whole song, but so often the chorus " heart will choose to say 'Lord blessed be Your Name'" have come to be a frequent prayer/praise/committment hymn to remind me of God's never EVER failing love and that I DO choose how I will respond to Him in and through all of life's circumstances. I've mentiond it here several times. My Mamma heart -cry situation for Daniel is no different. I can choose to stand on God's promises and know He loves Daniel way more than I ever could, and in that, to know that God is God to Daniel whether I SEE HIM DOING IT OR NOT. AS I trust God for my two sons who are both in Iraq right now, and I pray for Daniel, one truth is certain. Either I truly meant it when I dedicated those boys to the Lord when I was pregnant with them, and again publically after they were born, and repeatedly as they grew up, and I know that God's plan is in action for their lives, that I have meant every prayer I have prayed over Daniel in dedicating his life to the Lord and his future to God's glory, or I need to retract those earlier prayers and feel free to worry about my sons in a war zone and fret about all the "what-ifs". I can continue to trust God for Daniel's health and future or I can ask y'all to pray so I can go around fretting about him. I can tell you : God has brought me too far and done far too much in my life and in the lives of my children for me to back step into worry and fearing! (for very long any how. ) God lifts me up and reminds me very quickly that He "has not given us (inserting ME: Linda) a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and a sound mind "( 2 Tim 1:7)
To remind me how He answers prayer, God blessed me with a wonderful sight this morning. Today was a Sunday to celebrate Communion, and our elders organized the celebration a bit differently than we usually observe so rather than being served the elements while sitting in place, we were called to the front. Our elders served each person, reminding us of Jesus' body broken for us and His blood shed for each one of us. WHAT A BLESSING to watch my children filing up, one after another, to receive their own Communion! Having prayed with each of them when they asked the Lord to come into their lives, and forgive their sins, and make them new creatures, this precious sight filled my heart with such joy! Adding an extra tier to my joy was that Hannah and Jon had Blake and Mady with them and they too were able to partake for themselves...... a new generation of believers being raised up to love and serve Jesus! As I thought about these children, teens, yong adults, the words of another old hymn of committment stirred in my heart for my children and grandchildren. "Here's my heart oh take and seal it Seal it for Thy courts above"
Does your heart belong to Almighty God? Is it sealed for eternity, is your trust in God alone? Do you know Jesus as you personal savior? Have you asked Him to forgive your sin? Do you posess the perfect peace He promsies when you've given your life to Him? Are you sharing that perfect peace with others? If you are not sure, PLEASE ask me what I'm talking about? I'd love to pray with you, show you how you can be sure or how you can share with others what God has given to you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

I had chosen that hymn as part of our Praise and Worship music for this upcoming Sunday, chose it, felt God put it on my heart several weeks ago, for this week.It has been SO right on,so where I am, to sing those words to myself..."What have I to fear , what have I to dread...leaning on the everlasting arms...I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting and secure from all alarms........." As I have continued to wait for news about Daniel, hope for forward progress with the whole adoption suspension in Liberia, now more than 7 months old and there has been neither, God has held me in His everlasting arms for sure! I have been very sad today because the end of our available time to travel BEFORE Caleb comes home from Iraq and Hannah's baby comes due, has now come and as I go to sleep tonight, it will have passed. For a bit over 5 months now we've been told that Daniel's case was before the Powers That Be...that they knew about him and were willing to process his case as soon as there was a family who spoke for him. April, May, June, July, and now, essentially August, have passed into history, but Daniel has not passed through the doors of an airplane to come home, or the doors of a doctor's office or surgeon's office so that we might discuss his operative plans or his prognosis for a future. The phone call I was told to expect yesterday about Daniel never happened: yesterday or today. I am so excited that my second oldest son is arriving home for his two weeks ' leave from Iraq .........SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!! I am thrilled that Hannah's Baby Charlie, my grandson, is due within the next two weeks. I am so sad that Daniel will not be here to be part of the celebrating, and that he will not be here so that we can celebrate HIS arrival as well. I am sad that the surgery Daniel needs for life itself is still off in the unscheduled future. I have shared so many times that I know God 's ways are perfect, therefore what He does for me as I trust Him, is also perfect and I should be giving thanks in all things, which most definitely includes this part of the family story. I am thankful that God has prepared a time for us: for Junior and Diamoh as well as for Daniel. I know that this God-appointed time is also perfect. It is ME who is not. My prayer is that God make me more pliable, more moldable, more yielding to whatever He,my Heavenly Father has for me, in HIS timing. I am a "do-er" which means that I don't sit on my hands very often or very well. LINDA acts, Linda DOES!!!!! Well in this, Linda can not "do" anything to change the pace or the lack of rules governing all the needy children in Liberia, or do anything to expedite anything. Yet, I can pray. I am praying almost all the time, and I don't believe that I am whining, but today I am asking God to catch all my tears in His bottle (Psalm 65:8) and show His oomfort to me in my sadness over not being able to be with my baby. I am praying increased protection over my little son. I am praying that tomorrow I am able to talk to the person who needs to call me, praying that I get the answers to the many questions we have about what is going on with Daniel's case, praying that there is true, certain forward progress in getting Daniel home. In that too, I am sad because for months I have hoped the day of travel would come SOON, and right now I have to pray that our approval to travel NOT come right now and pray that Daniel's hydrocephaly not deteriorate any further as he lays waiting for us to come for him. Daniel is and was and will be God's child regardless of where he is. God will not let go of Daniel. How I pray that I were saying that today too, or that I knew when I would be saying to him, "Sweet baby Mommy is not going to leave you or let go of you!" So I let go, I lay it all down before our Heavenly Father's throne, and lean................on His everlasting arms!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plumbing, glorious plumbing

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..the wonderful sound of toilets flushing! After that nasty relapse last night and a major bleach-pouring scrubbing clean up, I used a good quantity of Draino to influence the remaining clogs that they should leave the building, and our system. The first run of hot water resulted in the nearest toilet bubbling back up, so I reapplied and left things all night. The bathtuub and toilet both passedthe running hot water test without so much as a glug or a burp! The hot water lines have sealed tightly. Charlie's recommendation? BUY THE $8 a piece pressure connectors. FORGET epoxy, forget soldering. Sweet Naomi told me she wanted to write her Daddy a note about the hot water. Is this not the most precious note a Daddy could get from his 7 year old daughter??

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Want to Re-finance a what???????????????

In spite of the fact that the all-after noon plumbing and power auger-ing project did not result in permanently fixed plumbing, and in spite of the really nasty clean -up Charlie and I just did in the bathroom, there is ALWAYS something to smile or laugh about! I found this cartoon years ago ,and it has lived on our refrigerator door ever since.
MckLinky Blog Hop

And just because it always makes me smile, let me share this photo of Isaiah having a great "get down tonight" time at Hannah's wedding reception!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the water heater saga continues and is joined by clogged plumbing

So I bought a new water heater on Friday afternoon and Lowes very nicely delivered it early yesterday morning. Charlie has spent his whole weekend getting the old water heater out of its closet in the kitchen and getting the new one set up and working without leaks. He is the first to tell you he is NO PLUMBER and prefers to not do plumbing related work. Two of Gideon's pals who are former OSU football players (we are talking huge WALLS of men here !!!) came and moved the old water heater out of its closet and to out dumpster site. I was quite happyy to grill up several pounds of goat burgers to reward their efforts.This water heater has been a bigger project than we thought, and before it was completed another problem popped up to add to Charlie's disdain for plumbing and his respect and desire for, a professional plumber. Our whole plumbing system went out this after noon.....every pipe, drain and toilet backed up this afternoon. ALL our older guys were indisposed, none of our church men friends were answering their phones ( BEFORE they knew we were asking for help, guidance, moral support, prayer for a plumbing problem) and the welding of the water heater pipes had to stop so that an auger could be run to clear out the backed up plumbing issue. NO dishes were done...not in the bathtub or anywhere else. NOT ONE PIPE was running through. It could be long hair from daughters' heads, it could be old pipes, but I suspect that it is an over abundance of food particles trying to run through pipes not really intended for food at all.....but I can't prove it. The 25 foot auger only caught a small amount of hair and nothing else. Whatever, it does not change the fact that I had to take my mom back to the nursing home hours earlier than usual since I had no way for her to "go", that I had made an awesome roast beef dinner with all the favorite trimmings, masjed potatoes and gravy, roasted onions and carrots, and had a huge pile of dishes but could not wash any of them, and no one else could "go" either........
We have been washing dishes in the bathtub, boiling hot water on the stove or filling gallon jugs upstairs where I have hot water, and carrying it to the bathroom because the shape and size of our sink is not conducive to washing dishes by hand, believe it or not!! This is not fun for anyone. Having just one shower for 11 people has been manageable but congested. Our upstairs bath is on a separate hot water heater, so we are very thankful to have SOME hot water. I'm also helping Hannah with laundry right now because their washer broke down and died. With her working full time, she has not had the time or energy to come all the way out to our house and wait on laundry......................THAT part of the plumbing is unrelated to the inner workings of the hosue coz my laundry room is part of the newer addition to the house, as is our bedroom plumbing where I have a source of hot water.
Charlie just finished the hot water tank, it is not leaking anywhere. Tomorrow he will have to take off part of a day to rent a bigger auger and try to find the real source of out clogged pipes. Till then.........................oh you figure it out. Frinds offered to take my boys for the night to cut down on the number of people needing the plumbing but I decided that it was not fair that my boys got to "go" AND get out of chores too while leaving their sisters to fend with the broken systems and all the farm chores too. We are all here, making do, and doing the chores team style.
What is that verse I shared yesterday...He makes the path wider under my feet so that they don't slip??? PRAISE GOD! WE ARE ON A WIDER PATH AND OUR FEET ARE NOT SLIPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The last time we had a plumbing problem, Charlie was out of state, it was pouring down rain and I did have to hire a plumber. THIS is (well maybe not for Charlie....sorry Honey!!) a much better scenario.
Praise and Worship was anointed this morning. Despite some sound equipment issues, the message of God's holiness was shared and honored. My new Sunday School class was fun and all my children read aloud! More new people joined us this morning and I sensed God really drawing them in to our fellowship. My prayer is that we , this part of the Body, reach where God's hands would reach and truly BE His ministry and His ministers to each person our Father brings into our midst.
It was so wonderful to sing "Holy Holy Holy " , "Let Every Thing that Has Breath Praise the Lord" "Agnus Dei" and "Revelation Song" and lay aside every thought of "stuff" to just lead , and to worship God Almighty. It was a precious time and really did help Charlie and me keep all these things in the right perspective. I may not have plumbing right now, but I know that I do have Living Water . Denis Jernigan wrote a song called "There is a Fountain" A phrase from that song runs through my mind..."there is a Fountain, Who is a King Victorious Warrior, and Lord of Everything Blessed Redeemer Lord of Everything!!!" Life is a bit awkward and inconvenient right now at our house, yes ,and in that and anything else which might present itself , I want to be so focused on my Lord that these "things" have no effect ony my attitude or my countenance

Friday, August 21, 2009

2 Samuel 22....He enlarged my path under me so my feet did not slip!"

This is a passage God led me to this morning when I was praying for a friend of Malachi's who recently moved to Texas from Cambodia. He has family here and he will be a university student. Life here is SO different and the challenges are also very different.I am excited for him and honored to be among his prayer supporters. The whole chapter is so beautiful, but verses 29-37 jumped out at me! It was for me as much as it was for him.
"For You are my lamp oh Lord , The Lord shall enlighten my darkness . For by You I can run against a troop, In 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 in 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 like the feet of deer, and sets me in high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation: Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me so my feet did not slip." 2 Samuel 22:29-37

In everything that is before me today, starting a new home school co-op class with two other families, including a broken water heater in the house and broken water pump in the Suburban,one son in Iraq and a second preparing to depart next week, no word on Naomi's latest Hep B test results, the ongoing uncertainty over Daniel's status and lack of communication about him, the even more uncertain status for our Junior and Diamoh's adoptions, God's way is perfect and He makes MY WAY perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!! He enlarged the path under my feet so I would NOT SLIP.
The chapter ends with those familar words "The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock, Let God be exalted The Rock of my salvation!!!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

no internet for 4 days

because LIGHTENING STRUCK OUR SERVER!!!!!!! I thought they were just having more than the usual amount of connection problems, but not this time! they really lost everything in a storm on Monday night. We just got back up online within the hour.
SO speedy update.....NO word from Liberia about Daniel..........still................
but yesterday at 6 AM I got to talk to Junior and Diamoh on the phone, thanks to HollyAnn taking the time to make phone calls for us from the orphanage! they didn't say much, but the tones in both chldren's voices let me know that they were pleased to hear me speak to them. IT WAS WONDERFUL and so hard hard hard to hang up when we were out of time! I miss my children!!
SO now the "Burban needs a $580 water pump job, the kitchen/downstairs water heater has died but not until after leaking water all over the floor and soaking the sub floor to the point of squishy feet at the west end of the kitchen. For those of you who have adopted from Africa, you know what I mean when I say this sounds just like adopting from Africa!!!!!!!!!!! Thankfully God's mercies are NEW every morning and even when I'm tired from not enough sleep and a sore said Tuesday I tore some Quad - tendons when it locked or when it popped..... those NEW MERCIES ARE KEEPING ME WALKING ON WATER and not taking in lung-fulls of big roaring waves!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Blessed be the name of the Lord! My heart WILL CHOOSE TO SAY
Lord blessed be Your Name!!!!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Squash Oregano recipe

ITs Favorite Recipe time for Tuesday's Mc Linky. My favorite for summer, especially THIS summer, is SUMMER SQUASH OREGANO. From my beloved Southern Living Magazine circa summer 1997, this dish is absolutely uber delicious with home grown garden squash, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, but grocery store veggies will do too, ditto the herbs. Here it is, and if you don't have any squash,email me: I have lots!!!

3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano or 3 tbsp dried
3/4 pound yellow squash, sliced
3/4 pound zucchini, sliced
4 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large skillet or wok add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute' till tender
Stir in oregano, yellow squash and zucchini, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 15 minutes
Stir In tomato, salt, pepper cook uncovered until squash is tender. Spoon into serving dish and top with cheese.

MckLinky Blog Hop

no news for me, but my friend Anita is about to flood space and cyber space with hers!!!

Her sweet baby Kendi's paperwork is ready in Ghana.Kendi will be home for Labor Day. God poured out funding on them so that she, her mom and daughter can all go meet Kendi's escort, MORE funding came in than they expected, FF miles cost less than anticipated and as her dh Eric has been waiting for a kidney for transplant and had a real close near -experience- of -the- transplant- kind several weeks ago, they are now just WAITING FOR T H E C A L L on another kidney. PLEASE PRAY WITH ME FOR THE G FAMILY, praising our Heavenly Father for all this awesome news and trusting that the next kidney will be THE kidney for Eric's needy and ready body?
Thanks all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Heather ..for this sweet blog award!

What a fun way to start my day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walking and leaping and praising God!

Hallelujah! While we were watching the cartoon "Ratatouie" (sp??) my knee let loose with a huge "pop" which everyone heard over the tv and released!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so thankful to be on two feet again! I may well try an Osgood-Slaughter's ortho -disorder brace tonight to see if it will keep this from happening again. For now I will just sing that chorus and keep dancing and praising God......."walking and leaping and praising God!!!"

Locked knees, missed phone calls and wonderful fellowship

For the second time this year I have been awakened by the pain of my left knee being locked. The first was just a few daysbefore Charlie and I left for Liberia in March. Thankfully my chiropractor was able to work on it and get it to release. IF I am still locked up tomorrow AM I will be at his office first thing! It used to only lock up if I was on my knees and leaned over to ofar or something, or sat and rolled over, kind of hard to explain. This locking up in my sleep thing is different andI may need to think about a brace at night. WE'll see. I can go months and months with no knee probs at all an then out of the blue it will lock. Thankfully I have a pair of crutches I keep under my bed "for such a time as this" sigh.............It usually releases all on its own, but can take minutes or weeks, seriously!!!
HollyAnn called from Liberia so that we could talk to Junior and Diamoh and WE MISSED THE CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My phone was still turned off from being at church. Her husband said she'd try again tomorrow. I will wear my phone all day!!!!
WHAT A WONDERFUL CHURCH AFTER FELLOWSHIP WE HAD TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God just spoke to and through several people in such special ways, and it was so anointed. I see God really working as He brings new people to our little local body, and not in a GOOD WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE kind of way, but in the PRAISE GOD FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SERVE HIM AND BE HIS HANDS AND FEET AS PART OF THE BODY. Young couples with a vision of what else we can be doing, what God is teaching and showing them and what they want to do to contribute to this part of the body and to our community really excites me! It was so cool for us all to share together how we can all together encourage each other, and for the younger couples to ASK the more seasoned to mentor them and shepherd them is great for all of us in terms of being accountable to each other. It was just a better-than-words rafter noon! We closed with prayer and Third Day's "CRY OUT TO JESUS" playing and that summed it up and said it all. I may be on crutches, but I am PUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our new school year unfolds

Whether I am here or in Liberia, school will start on time at Lakeview Christian School. the new books are ordered, the current supplies are inventoried. The co-op class is set up, we will study AROUND THE WORLD IN 180 DAYS with another family, maybe two. This is a study of geography and history, continent by continent and I think will be a fun year of study. We have used a language arts curriculum called WORLDY WISE 3000 for many years and we all love it. This week I discoverd that WORDLY has a totally awesome website to coordinate with the text books. WOW!!! Word lists, a teacher who reads the listings and definitions and gives quizzes, and a side by side choice of games with the list words, week by week and book by book from grade 2 through grade 12. Word search puzzles, "hangman", concentration and e-flash cards, all at
We have already had so much fun with the word puzzles for the upcoming year!
Our math of choice is Scott Foresman and we own all the hard cover books from grade 3-12. No new purchases there; we are borrowing Teaching Textbooks for Algebra for Isaac and Noah. This will be a more computerized school year than we have ever had, and I think that's good a good thing for continuity, consistency, and potential for unplanned interruptions (does anyone really plan FOR interruptions??) and to teach computer literacy skills beyond two finger "hunt and peck" typing. I've used Mavis Beacon in the past and I think we will start out with her this year too. Nwo that everyone's eyes have been checked and those needing eye glasses have them, we are set to see and learn!!
Soccer, basketball and tennis will add to our already physical life style.
INCREDIBLE to think that in the next 5 weeks we will be in a new school year, Baby Daniel SHOULD be home, Baby Charlie will be born, Big Brother Caleb will be home from Iraq for his two weeks, and who knows?? Maybe Liberia will be at a point in its adoption suspension that families with adoption decrees or matches will be starting their completions and Junior and Diamoh will have some target date of home coming as well. Charlie and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary in September as well.
Obviously there is no more word from Liberia about Daniel, not even a "hang in there" so we continue to pray that God sustain him and keep his condition from further deterioration although I know from photos taken last week that he is deteriorating. If God has not cleared our case thus far, I have to believe that He IS protecting Daniel from increased headache pain as his head fills with more and more fluid. We are ready to go and get him, as soon as the green lights go on. Trustfully it will be next week! I know I have said that for weeks and months and meant it each day that passed. I continue to hope and trust in my Lord. There ae lots of scrptures about hope, but Romans 15:13 reminds..."now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit..." I can be content in that for me AND for Daniel!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cracker Barrel with ABBY!

Its about an hour drive to OKC from where we live so we don't go often, but Naomi's Pedi-Gastroenterologist is there and we need to see him 3 or more times a year.Its my "just Mommy and Naomi time" usually. She gets to pick where she wants to eat after we're done and what we should do with our afternoon. We've learned what all Naomi loves at Olive Garden, that any food court Sonic is just as good as the ones at home,that CHEESECAKE FACTORY is simply an amazingly noisy and wonderful place, that Toys R Us is pretty cool, and that lunch at the little reastaurant in Cao Nguyen super grocery store in the Asian district is THE ALWAYS ALWAYS BEST EVER!! We've tried to work a visit with Abby Riggs into our schedule a couple of times but things fell apart before they got too far into the plans. THIS day almost didn't happen either, when Naomi showed a low-grade temp at her doc's appointment. QUICK call with Michelle and it was decided that we'd go ahead and meet, and PRAY that whatever Sami/Hannah had at their house which caused the visit to go to Cracker Barrel and not Riggs' Central and whatever Naomi's body was warring with would not touch Abby.
Naomi's visit with her doctor went well; we won't know results of her lab work for a few more days. Her doc did recommend that if her numbers were still up and climbing, adding a new med to her routine. Naomi's strain of Hep B is a quirky quite mutant strain which responds to meds for a while, mutates and goes off in crazy directions causing the viral load count to soar. SO FAR , and we praise God for this, she is not sick..."just" a hostess to way too many Hep B viruses.
We had so much fun with Michelle, Abby and Landis. I brought Rachel along too and a great time was had by all I think. Landis was pretty tired out, sweet guy, we kicked into his nap time and then stayed outside Cracker Barrel longer than his thick, beautiful head of black hair wanted to be outside of an air conditioned option, but it was a great afternoon and one we hope to have lots of repeats of in the future.
The girls were a tad shy at first, but they were chattering and playing and laughing before too long . In a brain fade moment left my camera by the computer, and so bought a throwaway camera. NOT such great photos: one gets used to that big sreen on a digital camera, and being able to zoom. The basic emergency camera at Cracker Barrel has none of those things. I hope Michelle's photos are better than mine, but it was a fun afternoon for two little girls whose lives have some pretty not-so-fun aspects!!!

three new friends

Naomi helping Abby go shopping

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wedding day photos

My Mc Linky Blog Hop contribution thisweek to Favorite Photos!!!
THANKFULLY others had photos from our wedding because we lost all of our photos in a hosue fire in fall of 1992, shortly after our 10th anniversary! Here from my Mother-in-law's albumn are Charlie and me September 18, 1982!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

sleepy, but not "slothful"

It was "no sales tax" weekend for clothing here in Oklahoma this weekend. What few stores I visited Friday and yesterday didn't impress me much in terms of motivating me to spend hard earned dollars, tax free or not. SO SLEEPY this afternoon, but Jael needed some school clothing. I let her drag me into town. We did find some cute things for both Jael and her partner- in -clothing: younger sis, Leah. Yawn...........BUT I did find a really cute zipper front hoodie with a good sized hood for Daniel to wear on the plane when he comes home. I wanted a warm-up suit, like I had purchased for all the other kids when we prepared to bring them home, but what I have found so far were either ugly,too heavy , or both. Now I feel plane ready!!! Found a couple of other outfits for about $4 each too. THAT excited me a bit, and when someone gave Jael and me a coupon for an additional 20% off our purchase total, I was ALL about that!! We did pretty well I think, but now I am totally truly ready for bed, sleepy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

more ponderings from a sleepy, twisted right- hipped Mamma.........

Not sleeping well two nights in a row has an unwelcome side effect on almost all facets of life, not the least of which is ability to think clear or complete thoughts long enough to know if they ARE clear and complete!!
We are all missing Sopheak so much. She sent a sweet sweet face book message to us when she got back home. I'll save that in my SOPHEAK file because its not a note I want to lose.
We are gearing up for a new school year, inventory-ing the curriculum on hand to see what we need to order. That's alwasy exciting and with two possible co-op classes this year for everyone, I think its going to be a fun school year. Since (21 gun salute, fire works, send up the helium balloons, play "Pomp and Cicumstance" here, NOW!!!) my youngest three all mastered reading this last year, we can do so much more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Naomi was on target as a K-1st grader, but Rachel and Isaiah only being in the US for less than 4 and less than 3 years as older school kiddos, this was BIG!!! We are so proud of all of them, and love to listen to them as they read, sound out words, puzzle over "Explode the Code" phonics rules they've learned which don't apply to a lot of the words now in front of them ( and I repeat myself often telling them that IF I , the MAMMA, had written the rules for English, a LOT of those rules would not be there in the first place to confuse the reader!!!) but its a lot of fun. I loved teaching them to read, and LOVE reaping the benefits!
There was only an encouraging "HANG IN THERE" email about Daniel on Friday night very late, so for now, still no booked reservations for my flight to Liberia. Pleae keep praying, we know its coming!!! We did receive some new, and honestly , troubling, photos of Daniel. His precious head has grown markedly since late March. God knows this better than all the humans who care for him, I KNOW THAT, I TRUST THAT, but like with any unpleasant situation in the life of any of my other children, my Mamma heart aches to help him, and to get help for him!!
We are still fundraising for the sum total of having all Junior and Diamoh's adoptions on tap as well as Daniel's. We've borrowed, we're paying back on a lon already, we received a matching grant, a grant from Shepherd's Crook went to start paying Daniel's expenses, but we are still needing to keep working on fund raisers. Our church is small, and we are very heavily into raising funds for a family who will be going into full time missions next year. This is a GREAT and VERY SUCCESSFUL undertaking for which I am thrilled. Being a smaller body, this means fewer places for funds to be sent, and we are totally in support of what and how its all about right now. Today, an announcement was made in church that for anyone who sends money in for our fund, the church will match those donations up to a total of $1000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cried. I was not expecting this whatsoever. On my "to-do " list this week is setting up a meeting with the Sorority/Fraternity commission (or whatever its called) at OSU to see if one of those clubs would want to be our sponsor and help us, scheduling a car wash or two or three, checking with the Schwanz frozen food comapny because they too do fund raisers. Plane fare above the agency fees is still needing to be raised for Junior and Diamoh's tickets. This blessing from our church body was huge to us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If this is something any of you want to be part of, please let me know. I'll send you the address.
Naomi has her 2nd of three or four check-ups with her Pedi-Gastroenterologist tomorrow to assess her Hep B status. Her viral load coutns were up so high last check-up; the doctor upped her med. doseage in hopes of slowing the drug resistant mutant strain of virus which lives in my 7 year old daughter's body.By Thursday we should know how that increased dose, along with much prayer, has affected her counts. She shows no signs whatsoever of being ill, other than when we get the lab results back, and watch the up and down, mostly up, rates of viral increase. I'm so glad that she is here where she is able to get the best meds, get excellent care and monitoring, most of all where we can pray over her and all those involved in her care. SO thankful that God turned things around for us way back in fall of 2001 even before she was born, preparing her for our family, setting our hearts in "ready" mode for our baby girl!!!
A side trip for us tomorrow is that we are going to visit our cyber friend ABBY, for whom we have prayed for a year, but whom we've not been able to meet in person for a whole lot of sick little girl reasons. UNLESS Abby hada downturn over the weekend, we will get to hang out with her after Naomi finishes her doctor visit and lab work.
(See my side bar, if yo're new to reading my blog...ABBY is 4 and has a particularly aggresive form of leukemia. She's on chemotherapy right now and life is always a challenge. Her family's testimony of thier faith and God's faithfulness to them never ceases to challenge me in our family and other parts of life.
I saw photos from several people who were /are in Liberia now. HOW I ached for Junior and Diamoh and Daniel!!!! There are no answers right now about the suspension in the big picture, and no final answers in the short term for Daniel YET, but we are believing that ALL THREE of our Liberian children will be home before our US authorization expires and needs renewing!!
God's faithfulness to us, His mercies which are new every morning: this is what keeps me walking on water ,and my eyes fixed on my Heavenly Father! I don't have answers, can't "do" anything in myself ....but I CAN trust God with what He has given us and I intend to keep on doing just that. It doesn't matter what anything "looks like". What matters is that regardless: my life shows how much I love my God, how I long to please Him in my responses and reactions, in my "for real" self. That the parts of me which would be angry, anxious, disappointed, inappropriately reactive get submitted to God's authority to be refined and made into responses that please Him and reflect who He is in my life. These issues concerning children are certainly GREAT TOOLS FOR GOD TO USE.......HE has had my heart "from " 'hello' "!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

so much to ponder in my heart......

Malachi and Sopheak left this morning for the airport, for OKC, for Dallas, for LA, then Hong Kong for Sopheak and Denver for Malachi. My prayers are with them both as I know this was not an easy goodbye. They joked in the pouring rain this morning that it was " a sign" that they should stay put here, but of course they had to go. I cried, I cry so easily anyhow, but I cried. They are so sweet together, so RIGHT together ,and so natural, whether they are chattering in English or in Khmer, which they do equally, or playing with each other or the other kids. IT is so weirdly quiet again, and somehow MORE so than when they were in Florida . She has gone back and we will not see her for probably two years. Malachi is planning to go to Cambodia for next summer, and the summer after that, she will return.............that is a LONG TIME. Even my older boys were teary eyed. Leah tries to be so "cool" and not show a lot of emotion, but she too was saddened to the point of hiding her tears. Malachi called a bit ago, they are fine and hanging out in LA till midnight when 'Pat's plane leaves.
We heard nothing from Liberia today about Daniel, and I am hoping that tomorrow will be THE DAY, but just walking one step at a time. I have just about gotten all they paper work I needed to do: finished, I will pre-pay the mid Augut -early September bills so nothing goes ignored, and trust that I am leaving for Liberia VERY SOON!!!
With Hannah's baby due and my son Caleb coming home from Iraq for his two weeks' leave, being in Liberia in September is out. God has known this from the beginning. I chooose to trust HIS TIMING, my own desires aside. Right now my heart just aches for my older children: Hannah who lost all her Medicaide benefits this week when Oklahoma decided that they 'make too much" to qualify for any state supported care, and she is 6 weeks from Charlie being born (HOW DOES THAT WORK??)Jon's unemployment runs out in 2 weeks, Malachi and Sopheak are being separated by school and 6,000 miles for almost another year, Caleb is spearated from his wife Courtney by war and deployment, and for our younger children too:our sweet Junior and Diamoh are separated from us by a suspension on Liberian adoptions with no real end in sight, and Daniel waits, unaware that he IS waiting, for his forever Mommy to fly over to scoop him up and bring him home to a house full of love.
Other adoptive family members were and are in Liberia right now. The photos I saw spoke volumes to me that our children miss us, and were very disappointed that we were not among those who came to visit this month. Several of the people who came last week were with us in March. I know that had to sting. ADD TO THAT, I sent a package to a traveling family, in plenty of time so it would arrive and be taken to Liberia for Junior and Diamoh, and to another sweet young girl, Elsie too. The USPS however took not THREE days to deliver my envelope ,as promised, but 13. Junior and Diamoh watched as other kids opened envelopes from MOMMY AND DADDY far way, and they had nothing. They have no idea that I TRIED, only that THEIR mommy and daddy didn't send anything. I saw it in their faces in the photo of them together, I saw it in their absence in all the group photos of the children, which previously they jumped to be part of. It all made me hurt for them, and miss them terribly.
I worte to Senator Clinton today on her own website, again, suggesting she offer the USA suspension on adoptions in Cambodia as a model for Liberia to use in coordinating their own "pipeline families" stuck in the middle of a suspension totally not of their own doing .
Daniel waits, Junior waits, Dimoh waits, and they are representative of probably over100 referred /matched children and their eager families...........................
As I wait, I am so blessed with all that I have here at home, blessings I am SO eager and bursting to share with Daniel, Junior and these:
visiting with friends who also have Vietnamese, Cambodian and African children: Anita and Eric and their Taevy , Samren and Bright, soon to add 2 year old Kendi from Ghana too!!

sharing a meal at the Chinese buffet restaurant together:

sharing lots of laughs laughs at the lake with lots of friends

setting up the water rocket for a blast off
Jumping on the trampoline to do flips:
sweet sleep at the end of the day.........
taking a group photo, but always having room for more sibs!!!
and yes, saying farewell for now...............
and SO eager to go say HELLO, LET'S GO HOME!!!!!
and so eager to give a hug and a whispered "I love you sweet baby!!!'

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

reading and listening preferences, and launching rockets!!

OK, so judging from the 0 comments so far about John Piper and Hillary Clinton's web page, I guess those are not things people who read my blog want to see or listen to? I'm just askin'...............If you do stop by, what is it you like to find when you get here? I don't agree with everything that Piper has to say, and I CERTAINLY do not agree with much that H. Clinton has to say, but right now, they are people who have some potential impact upon my life, and hence my blog. I will let you all know if H. Clinton's meeting with President Sirleaf has any real impact upon SMITHSOUP and the timing of adding new ingredients as sooooooooooooooon as I know!
In the meantime, we gave Malachi a really cool water rocket for his 21st birthday. Yes a plain ole toy for the celebration of his turning 21 at 5:05 PM on August 5.
The rocket blows up with an air pump, you place it on a launch pad, water goes in somewhere, air is pumped into the launch pad. The combined pressure of water and air cause the 10 foot tall balloon rocket to shoot WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY up in the air, I'm talking more than 60 feet!!!! Its kind of a lot of work for one blig strainght up blast, but we got lots of laughs from it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALACHI STEPHEN!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a John Piper video we need to listen to!!

Please scroll down and turn off the volume of my playlist before you hit "play"


a letter to Secretary of State H. Clinton

Never one to shy back from communicating with elected officials, but who needs to think out her words carefully, today I posted a request, an encouragment if you will, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she prepares for a trip to Liberia to meet with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The suspension on adoptions in Liberia has entered and is well nested in its 7th month, new laws were promised, etc etc............if you read my post earlier in July, you know that the suspension claimed the life of little Matthew. You know that we pray fervently for our Daniel to not be the next......... Our Department of State actually has a FaceBook website where citizens may comment on issues at hand.

Dear Secretary Clinton,
As adoptive parents whose first adopted children were caught up in the 2001 US- imposed suspension on adoptions in Cambodia, and now as the prospective, waiting adoptive parents of three children in Liberia, also in a state of suspension, we understand the difference between imploring our own government to take an action and the different approach needed to request another country to take similar action, even with nearly identical situations. We all as adoptive parents wish and pray that we were not needed, that the children who are orphaned would be with their birth families and that their lives could be full of hopes and dreams within the scope of reality. Sadly for many countries that is not the case and there are many broken families, broken dreams, and many, many orphaned children. The need for families to have open hearts and homes for adoption is a very valid and ongoing need. it is not a "concept" to be vilified or set aside through lack of information or as a result of unethical people looking to make a buck at the expense of an already tragic situation. As Liberia rebuilds and grows, it is my hope that her laws will be strong and lasting, built from true sweat equity on the part of the lawmakers. Please convey that to President Johnson- Sirleaf? We want Liberia to prosper and thrive with a strong good government and laws which protect her citizens, including the families whose lives are touched in any way by orphans, orphanages, and/ or adoption. To this end, we are requesting that you make the now 7 month old suspension on Liberian adoptions part of your discussions with President. Johnson-Sirleaf. Many American families are in a deep limbo over their adopted children. A number of them have adoption decrees from the Liberian government, and even American visas for those children. Many, like our family, have been matched with children for over a year, and we wonder as we pray and hope for those precious children, if, when , they will ever come home. Our 18 month old Liberian son has an untreated and life threatening condition for which there is no medical care available in Liberia. He will die there as collateral damage to this suspension, even as another child, whom I had the privilege to hold and care for earlier this year, did.
For the sake of the children , it is our hope that you will have meaningful dialog with the President. Perhaps you can suggest the mechanism our government used in Cambodia with the "Pipeline families" as we were called, to allow already processed adoptions to complete as the new rules are put into place for the future. Sadly, Cambodia remains closed to American adoptions, but it does not have to be that way for Liberia. We appreciate your efforts and are optimistic for the future of Liberia.
Respectfully yours,

Monday, August 3, 2009

the weekend that had about 5 days in it , or seemed to!

Friday was a crazy busy day with all that back and forth with Liberia, while planning for a baby shower for Hannah on Saturday, rescheduling Sopheak's flights so Malachi could fly back to LAX with her, planning out the music of Praise and Worship for Sunday, recovering a diaper bag in Marine uniform BDU fabric and patches as one of Hannah's gifts, tentatively booking my own flights, and getting the house all in order for a 2 week absence by the Mamma, and decorating the cake.

requested that I do for her shower. NOT JUST ANY CAKE, but the GIFT BOX cake. I saw this done some years ago and recreated it for several showers after that. The idea stuck with Hannah. She told me years ago, and then quite recently that she wanted one for her first baby shower. Bake 3 9x 13 cakes, let them cool, make your favorite butter cream frosting recipe (mine uses real butter and coconut extract rather than the traditional vanilla) separate the frosting into bowls for dying your choice of colors.
Cut the cakes into squares and rectangles somewhere in the 2x2 3x2, 3x3 size range and frost each "gift box" one at a time , using decorator tubes and various frosting tips, decorate each "gift box" with frosting ribbons and bows. Arrange the cake pieces on a large tray as you decorate, so that you eventually have a pile of gifts as the finished product. What's the hard part beside the time it all takes? The "raw edges" of the cake pieces crumble and the frosting tends to slide right off, looking just like a mudslide!!!! For a person with perfectionist tendencies, this is a stressor !!! IT did turn out just fine, but not until I had picked on myself for quite a while!! I got the diaper bag done about an hour before we left for the shower. OYE!
Piles of Presents shower cake

Marine Camo diaper bag!!

The shower was a lot of fun!!! New friends, co-workers, local friends and family, relatives visiting from Guam, Sopheak here from Cambodia, a childhood friend from Louisiana who also lives her too...........all celebrating the upcoming arrival of Baby Charlie David. What a great group!!!
The day continued with a bar-be-que at our favorite lake spot for Malachi's 21st birthday and sort of farewell party for Sopheak who leaves, sadly enough, next Thursday...... So from one big gathering of mostly chick pals to this gathering of mostly guy pals but our big family and one of our very best friend's families as well ,I think we partied with nearly 70 people by the time we put up the bbq tools at the end of the day!! We played a couple of tradtional games at the shower and then one crazy game that had us all in stitches. HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED THIS ONE???
4 players are selected to race against each other. They are instructed to slide a potato into the leg of a pair of panty hose, and to tie the other leg around their waists. The potato now hangs down in front of each player, like a pendulum. The game?? An orange is placed in front of each player, and a finish line marked off about 5 feet away: the object being to see who can swing and sway their hula hoop hips to make that potato in the stocking leg bat the orange across the finish line first.
It was so hysterical, and not as easy as the players first thought it would be. Esther won the first race, but laughed herself silly in the process!!
Playing "The Game"

At the beach, volley ball was the main event but dousing each other in cups of water was a close second! And Malachi................ I KNOW its not proper to start a sentence with "and", but its my blog.................This boy, this young man is the only person I know who makes opening a 99 cent box of colored Goldfish crackers a fun event!! He and Sopheak had taken the younger children shopping for his birthday gifts the day before so they'd pick right (with a dollar or so each, hard to go too wrong at the candy/beef jerky check out section of the store) Gag gifts of course, and a preponderance of underwear, some Khmer cds from Sopheak, a great pounded metal gecko for his wall from Cambodia as well, serious clothes and a gift card to Red Lobster completed his gifts. It was all so much fun!!!!

gifts from Sopheak

Malachi who makes everything fun!

in the lake

Leah and friend Abby watch the swimmers

The evening continued with a request from Casey for permission to marry Esther, about two miniutes after "the talk" she released a bulk text message to tell her world that he'd asked and she'd accepted; no date set till her family knows Casey better and her dad gives his blessing. Sunday she and Casey were in church and she was sporting very proudly Casey's gramma's engagement ring on her finger. What can you do with all that but go eat pizza at your favorite pizza place after church????????????? What Esther had not told us when they came out to the lake was that when she was painting in her bathroom she fell and her foot went right through the toilet lid, into the (thankfully CLEAN) bowl, and slid so fast and hard that her foot got stuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In typical, practical, just-like-her-mamma-fashion, when she realized that she was stuck, that her phone didn't have service at the moment, that her roommates were all gone and Casey was helping a friend at Lowe's, she reached for the roller and continued to paint until someone came back to the house!!! Well, upshot was she may have broken a bone in her foot. When she did get it unstuck, it was bruised and swollen and sore!! After our pizza lunch together, Casey took Esther to the walk in clinic for an exam. We'll know today if she broke something, but for now she's in an air cast and she is sore. Hannah and I took advantage of having Charlie's truck, Hannah's day off from work and everybody else around to keep my mom company while they watched "Legally Blonde" and we drove to "The City" aka Oklahoma City, to Babies R Us to pick out car seats, maybe a stroller and other baby goodies. Esther was not walking anywhere but the clinic, my mom had taken something for a headache and said she was just going to fall asleep during the movie anyhow..................Fun afternoon, a "Father of the Bride part 2" kind of afternoon if you've ever seen that movie...Married daughter gets pregnant with her first baby, Mom thinks her body is acting a bit oddly, turns out she's pregnant too. The story is their multi-generational pregnancies and births in a zany love filled family. Yah, that's us, with an adoptive twist, but like that. The Grampa in our story says he wants a photo of his new son and his new grandson together in his arms when they are crying and fussing. He is going to call it his "Charlie Daniel Band" and he plans to send a photo to THE Charlie Daniels who does have a band by that name!!! Life is so rich and so blessed. Even when things take a turn we don't expect or that we don't want, it is so peace granting to know that God had it all planned; there were no surprises in His script, no unplanned events, or "Plan B" events. The weekend was not only full of the expected but the unexpected, a few speedbumps run over a bit too quickly, causing a few jerks of the necks, but God's love prevails!