Saturday, January 30, 2010

OK QUICK...while I have internet !!!

Our internet survived the ice storm and all the snow. The weekend when things were stable? Not so much...The snow has been fun for some of us. Pretty rough for others, like my young buck, RIBS. When the barn roof collapsed on his head Saturday morning or late Friday night, breaking off one of his horns and cutting up his face , I know he was NOT digging the winter any more than I was. Jael was awesome caring for his wounds while I was driving other kiddos hither thither and yon and Charlie was working with Jon to try to salvage the barn (MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!) Some of us played in the snow, some worked hard, some of us took some fun photos, and some of us worked hard to keep a beautiful and valuable goat from hypothermia and excessive blood loss or futher trauma..............and keeping life moving while a collapsed barn was being repaired, while our boys played a rough basketball tournament.....
Life in Smith Soup is sometimes to experience a good stirring up while the pot is boiling!
Snow is not all fun and games

Malachi, younger sibs and friends all out enjoying the snow

LOVED watching Charlie take Naomi for a horse drawn sled ride

Not sure that Aslan the Golden Retriever or Dana the mini- Schnauzer liked the snow so much
These were taken from out of my bathroom window on the second floor looking out at the trees in the back yard

This is not what I planned for today. Didn't love this so much at all!! Charlie was helping Jael
to get Ribs settled down so his wounds could be assessed and dressed.

this is not what I planned on today.......... but I am so thankful that Ribs is OK and stable!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

He makes all things beautiful in His time!

Snow storms, AND adoption updates! This morning we received word that the documents we needed signed were a bit stalled, and the man who wold sign them was goingto be out of his office for two weeks. I BEGAN TO PRAY. Even before I could ask friends to pray with me, I began to pray. As I prayed, I received another email. OUR DOCUMENTS ARE SIGNED!!! Our case, Daniel's adoption, is headed for court on Monday!! YES! MONDAY FEBRUARY FIRST, 02-01=2010 may be Daniel's official adoption date!! We are rejoicing at this wonderful news, realizstic enough to know that more delays could still be in store, but as Charlie and I rejoiced together (thanks to the snow storm which caused him to be home and not in Tulsa) we knew that God had answered our prayers: in His time, like always.......IN HIS TIME. Why God's timing was almost a year after what we'd been told would be "the time line" I can't say. What I can say is BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD! I know my Heavenly Father has had Daniel in the palm of His hand all along. I know that He loves Daniel more than I can even begin to understand what love IS and that in God's appointed time, I will be flying to Africa to meet with Embasy officials, sign the last of the paperwork and I will be bringing our youngest son HOME!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oklahoma, a twist on a song, and fun for Calico Acres Farm

I had to share this. A friend posted it on her Face book page earlier tonight. With the snow and sleet coming down like they are and the ice weighing everything down, with lots of Oklahoma without power , again, another ice storm in the news, .......this was just too real... "SNOWklahoma, Where the cold front's sweepin' down the plain, And the piles of sleet, beneath your feet Follow right behind the freezing rain...SNOW…….klahoma....... We know we belong to the land, But it could use some more salt and more sand, That’s why we say…..WHOA! We’re sliding the other way…YIKES!
...............We’ o...........nly sayin’ You’re slick as snot SNOWklahoma SNOWklahoma SNOW-K-L-A-H-O-M-A SNOWklahoma, SNOW-K! "
Rain ice it did! Sleet it did! And snow it did!! We have several inches of fresh white fluff on the ground covering I -don't-know-how-much-ice. . Stillwater is essentially closed (but I bet Walmart is not). A good deal of water came down last night which almost immediately froze everywhere, LOTS of icicles , ice in beautiful patterns is greeting us from almost every window on the house, BUT HALLELUJAH WE STILL HAVE POWER!! The biggest threat in an ice storm is of course that the power lines will be iced over and knocked out of commission. I know other towns were not so fortunate yesterday and I pray that their power is restored QUICKLY but I am very grateful that we kept our electricity throughout the night. I am also very thankful than neither of my very very pregnant dairy goats decided that they HAD to give birth last night. Babies born in this weather simply succumb to immediate hypothermia and die. NOT GOOD for Calico Acres Farm.
Not being of the cold temperature -loving persuasion, this is NOT my weather of choice, but I am so excited for the kids' plans for how to best utilize the lovely white stuff . Our most favorite winter activity is to saddle up the horses, tie sleds and snow boards to the horses and take turns being the horse rider who pulls the snow boarders behind , or being the rider who gets pulled. We do not get this much snow often but when we do.....our kiddos don't want to waste a boardable flake. You won't see much white snow left after a good day of horse and snow boarding. Charlie and kids "invented" this game when we fist moved here and Malachi who typically does not care for horse riding, kept up the game the few opportunities we had while Charlie was in Iraq. Today grandson Blake will get to try our farm sport for the first time. He said, "Isn't that fast?" Isaac responded in pure delight , "YES its fast. Daddy goes super fast and its AWESOME!"
The usual cry of success is "There is NO SNOW LEFT Mommy!" as the soaking wet, cold, and nearly frozen folks come piling back in to enjoy the wood stove which I didn't venture too far from in the first place! I have photos but Blogger isn't letting me upload them right now. I will try again later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

News from Liberia, just not "my news"...yet

but that is OK!!! I am glad to rejoice with the D family who got word that their "case history" is signed and ready to go to the US Embassy for processing so that visas may be issued for their two sweet sons. We got to meet K and A last March when we traveled to Liberia for that awesome week and a half to meet our Junior and Diamoh. K and A are fun-loving, adorable boys and they are one more step closer to COMING HOME to their forever family! AND, I will drum roll for us........................................................if the D Family got their corrected, acceptable case history, Daniel's case history can not be far behind!!! In light of the fact that the long -awaited annual address from President Sirleaf in Liberia earlier this week did not address adoption issues whatsoever, as was expected, ANY good news about an adoption in Liberia is even BIGGER news. We have been hoping that she might lift her year old ban on adoptions or modify her declaration from last year beyond the minor adjustments of several months back, hoping that the Congress would indeed write new adoption laws which the president would approve and sign into law. This could have opened the doors for those many of us waiting to know that we might be able to go forward with our adoptions. For the families whose cases had adoption decrees BEFORE the suspension was imposed, there is a "pipeline process" and those children are being worked through the system, as are some very special needs children (like Daniel). The "healthy, regular" kids who were "only" matched with families before the suspension: they are still unaddressed as the suspension continues unresolved. No provision has been proposed as far as I know, to complete the cases for the children who were matched with families: families who have been loving those children for over a year of uncertainty, children who perhaps have been receiving photos of their families with letters, gifts: little bundles of promise and hope. Perhaps the children and waiting families have met in person. Many families have traveled while holding out hope that the suspension was going to be short lived. We did. How thankful I am that we told Junior and Diamoh that we would could not come for them until the people who sign the adoption papers started saying YES again. We didn't give a time frame, only lots of hugs and love, attention and memories, and two photo albums full of family pictures for them to keep loking at while they wait and hope. They match the photo albums we have here: photos of Junior and Diamoh, before we came, while we were with them, photos of everything we did together with them, photos shared by people who visited after we'd gone home.Their photo book collection has grown too. They too have copies of the photos of our time together. It hurts to think about. My mamma heart is so ready to be actively nurturing these children, loving on them, teaching them to read and write, to know about stars and clouds, how to cook, how to ride horses to play board games family hold them close and read stories, listen to their stories..........I want to be their face-to-face mamma! They do know about Jesus. I loved listening to them sing with the other children at the orphanage in praise and worship, loved singing with them and teaching them a few songs they had not heard before. My mamma heart wants so desperately to teach them more and more about the love of their Heavenly Father and to be honored in leading them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior! Lord will it happen the way I 've dreamed it ?? For sweet Daniel, how I ache to hold him, give him Mamma love kiss his sweet forehead, call him by his name and tell him that I love him! Want to get him to a doctor so we may assess his hydrocephaly and his cerebral palsy, test for prognosis, schedule surgery... I long to see what his stalled-out little body may actually be capable of. OH how I want to work with his little contracted-up hands and feet to loosen the tightness in the muscles which has gone unattended for his whole life. I want him to know the love of family. He has been loved, he is loved, by his nannies.I have seen, and I know they care for him deeply, but its a diffeent kind of love. It is better by far , than being abandonded and left to die OH YES; I am so grateful for the nannies who have cared for our children thus far. My God-called Mamma heart just can't rest, however, knowing that my children, and many , many other children are as needy as they are, aside from submitting all those Mamma-passions to our Abba Father. Even then I still have rumblings in my spirit which need sometimes hourly re-committing and re-submitting as I remind myself that God loves those children even more than I coud ever imagine loving..."Behold what manner of love the Father has given (bestowed) unto us that we should be called the children of God!" (1John 3:1) I love my children, but I can, my husband can, only love them to the point of calling them "Smiths", providing for them with our human resources and introducing them to God. We can offer a pretty good human family life. It is nothing compared to what God provides through the death and resurrection of His only son. My Mamma heart wants to make absolutely sure that I show THAT love to as many as possible. That desire keeps hope alive in my heart as I wait on that "ALL my children shall be taught of the Lord and great will bethe peace of my children."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

and a new chapter begins, less a character...sort of

HOW did I do that??????????????? I hd shared exactly what was on my heart about my week, God's faithfulness, His out-stretched hand holding me SO close this week, holding so many needy people close to His heart...........and I hit "Something" with the side of my hand and all of a sudden "oi" was all that was on my page.
40 minutes, the FIRST 40 uninterrupted minutes in days to which I could devote myself to writing, and I LOST my words.
Please pray for my son Caleb as he leaves to go back to his military duty station in the morning? His leave is over, his marriage is now over too. He goes back to the base where he and the woman who is no longer my daughter- in- law, once lived together with a huge chocolate Lab named Marley. He returns, not to on- base housing but to the barracks as a single man. As if going to war is not a hard enough thing, he came home to a marriage betrayed and an empty bank account, and a wife who no longer wanted the job or the title, just the pay checks that being MRS SGT Smith provided. Sadly as of Wednesday afternoon, she now has none of those things. Papers signed and filed, a simple divorce was granted ending their short marriage in a swift scribble of a pen. It was the saddest event of Caleb's life and the saddest in a number of years in mine or Charlie's, and yet the saddest moment for which we were also relieved. We prayed for them faithfully but when a couple or either part of a couple does not serve the Lord, choosing instead to serve his or her self first first first.................marriage can not be taking place, can't be growing and getting stronger, deeper , more intimate. IT grows cold, distant, irrelevant , and inconvenient. Caleb is broken, hurt, confused and angry. He believed that this was the thing about which he was most sure in his whole adult life . God moved on me to remind him that even a divorce is not the final stroke of God's hand necessarily. IF he was right and she IS /WAS /WILL BE the right woman for him, God will draw her to Himself and back to Caleb. Only if she chooses to remarry and totally disallow God to reunite them is this a totally closed door. IF God had someone else all along and Caleb missed it with Courtney, she has relieved him of being married to him. He is by all scriptural guidelines free to marry again. For now he needs to heal from the pain of this betrayal and heartbreak, needs to work on his promotion board coming up soon, work toward accomplishing some needed military schools and career development. Most of all, and I praise God for the time Caleb and our elder pastor had together...time to meet with God together. That time and the goals set for Caleb spiritually are the most important for him to focus on in the weeks and months to come. They never got into a church before Caleb deployed; it is his priority now. Please pray with me that God leads Caleb quickly to THE church in which he may find a welcome spot to be ministered to and to minister as well? A place where there is accountability and shepherding, follow-up and fellowship?
I can not describe how my Mamma heart aches over this past five month long death of my son's marriage. I've held him, big and buff as he is, while he cried. A stupid family tiff caused him even more pain and for that I will be sorry a very long time. Its incredible how FAST a selfish thought and action can inflict severe pain, especially to one who is already wounded, tender and raw from his wounds. I held him as he cried and I begged his forgiveness for the pain that I, totally unintentionally but selfishly took part in inflicting. I rejoiced in the love and joy that the little kids poured out on their big brother, praised God for the healing oil their love was to Caleb's wounds. I was thankful too for the love and support of the older sibs as well...without feeling a need to chop Courtney up to pieces with their words, they cautiously but compassionately loved on their brother and made sure he knew they were absolutely along side Caleb.
We are praying for Courtney. She made some very stupid and selfish choices, very bad choices forwhich there is no excuse. IT has cost her a great price. I odn't know that her poor choices of associates and spending habits spilled over into poor job performance but she is now moving back to her parents' house, has no job, has to sell her car, and the friends who loved to party with her when she had Caleb's money: I don't know how much longer they are going to hang around now... with no apartment to party in and no one to buy the parties? Its all so very very sad to watch. I only know that my phone calls to her went unanswered, my voice mails not rsponded to , my text messages ignored. I had no address for her: she never gave it to me. Caleb did't have it either. I know I tried to keep reaching out to her while Caleb was gone, but that was not what she wanted from me, apparently. A number of times I called her mom to check on her so she would know (in case she had not gotten my other messages) that I WAS checking on her . AS far as I know her mom passed on my messages, but she never called me back or came to visit. She is a messed up young woman who may not know how messed up she is..........yet. I pray she doesn't go too much farther into the muck before she recognizes what she's doing. IF God has her for my son, or not, I want to see or hear that she is one day repentant and broken before God, I want to see her tranformed by her Father into the young woman He designed her to be. She does not have any Godly friends or family to guide her in that direction, I pray that she becomes encamped about by people who love God and will love on her and show her (back?) to Jesus. I want to rejoice in the knowledege that she has begun a real relationship with her Savior! I long for her, like the many others like her: myself included , to recognize herself in the rich words of "AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME... I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I SEE!!!!!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

If you scroll to the bottom of the page

you'll see the most recent GRAND Baby Charlie photo to make me smile!

Oh why it is

I think this one is pretty nifty too:

Its both my Toves grandsons Blake and Charlie!

You can MARCH in Washington for LIFE from your computer!!


http://http// is the link and it amazes me!!
I was able to actually be in Washington for the annual March for Life in January in 1986 and it was a memory I will always treasure being a part of. Caleb and Gideon were toddlers and I had a borrowed double stroller in which to push them for the day. My sister in law, also named Linda , is marching in person today. Being a participant in the March for Life won't change a law, that is true, but the March for Life, like any other significant annual event, causes us to stop and really think about that event: its meaning, its cause, its purpose, goals , and its struggles too. There are fewer abortion "providers" as more and more information is discovered about the true sanctity of life, the incredible details of pre-born life and development. There are more people now who "believe" (I prefer the word "know") that abortion is truly first degree murder than who "believed" it so when killing preborn babies became an "acceptable" Constitutionally protected "right of privacy". I believe that those faithful Marchers and March organizers over the years have had a strong hand in helping to get information out, to keep this "privacy issue" from being more and more hidden murders. NOT because they marched, but because more than likely in their day -to-day lives, are sharing their core knowledge that HUMAN LIFE begins with human conception and hence, human cell division which makes HUMAN BABIES who are living little people!They know and they live the principle that abortion is not just a tidy little word but that it represents the entire concept of choosing to kill a person who is living in what should be the safest place on earth: a mother's womb. The people who staff Life Centers and Crisis Pregnancy Centers, sharing information with those who might other wise contemplate abortion, have saved so many lives. They fund raise through out the year to provide maternity clothing, rides to doctor and midwives' appointments, baby clothing supplies and food for the BORN BABIES, they babysit for those moms so that they have a bit of time out from the babies to regroup and refresh. They don't go "march for life" one day a year, but are actually marching every day. Many of the marchers, are people had been deceived into thinking that an abortion was the "only way " or the "better way" for them when a situation presented itself in their lives. Now they march and share that they know the entire truth. Many have been touched by the pain of a murdered baby in their families somewhere along , and many are young families who want their children to learn early on how precious LIFE is, when it begins and what that tidy little word "abortion" really means. I am sure there are some who attend just for"something to do", and that is OK too. They are in the company of some awesome folks and that is never a bad thing. While a March for Life, virtual or in person may not change a law, I KNOW that it is helping us to hold firm against more radical laws. It encourages people to remember the day that our Supreme Court made the twisted Roe V. Wade decision and to purpose in their hearts to do what they can to protect future pregnant ladies and thier babies from such twisted and evil judicial thinking. If your elected officials are anti-abortion and you know it, send them an email or call them and THANK THEM for standing up on this issue. IF you know they are not, please send them an email or call them and ask them to rethink their position. Tell them WHY!!
Even if for a moment, will you prayerfully March for Life today?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reading about King Josiah

" Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant. (v 3)
I have been reading in the books of the Kings and I love the stories there, the history, causes and effects, actions and consequences, seeing God in His power, love and compassion,and even in His wrath. We need to see all the sides of God. HOW RICH for us today! Look at action and the consequence of young King Josiah here: he made a covenant to follow the Lord with all his heart and soul. AND ALL THE PEOPLE TOOK A STAND FOR THE COVENANT! Leadership, good or bad causes people to follow. As parents, church leaders, whatever position we have in our jobs, whatever level of leadership, people are watching and will follow our example. Are we causing people to TAKE A STAND FOR THE COVENANT which we have made with the Lord?
The chapter goes on to tell of how King Josiah really went after and destroyed all that had been allowed to be corrupted and defiled in the land when his own father was the king. It was a huge endeavor, but he kept on until he was finished. THEN he commanded “Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” I LOVE THIS NEXT VERSE!!! 22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. 2 I am imagining an incredible celebration as I think of this. We are studying the book of Mark in our morning worship service. Last Sunday was from Chapter 14: Jesus preparing to celebrate His last Passover with his disciples. To really examine what Passover was all about, beyond the 10th plague in Moses' day, we watched a JEWS FOR JESUS video explaining the entire tradition of Passover and how the very traditions of Passover point the way to JESUS. This video is a bit old,evidenced by the style of dress, but JESUS IN THE PASSOVER is rich with knowledge for we Gentiles of who we are in Jesus. David Brickner's teaching is fascinating and well worth the 40 minutes it takes to watch . I encourage you to maybe save it for later, but watch the video! But back to Josiah..........."such a Passover" As those people celebrated God's deliverance and His providence for them, "such a Passover had never been held since the days of the judges......." As they went over the traditions, one by one, the questions, the scriptures, commemorating God's faithfulness and His promise of Messiah, they reconnected with God their Heavenly Father, and took a stand for the Covenant. Scripture goes on to tell of, of Josiah (and this is why I LOVE the name Josiah so much) 25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.

WHAT A TESTIMONY!!! And yet, God didn't just let him coast , or rest on his laurels, or rule comfortably from his palace. God was still showing His wrath and even though Josiah's story was that of a Godly King, actions have consequences.

26 Nevertheless the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the LORD said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” 28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him. 30 Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.

Josiah died in battle; his son took his place and returned right back to doing evil in the sight of the Lord. It makes me marvel at how quickly people can react positively to the Lord and then just as quickly react with evil and turn away from Him. These people did it, other stories from Scripture share how common this is........... and we see it in modern America, we see it in our churches, we see it in ourselves. I see it in me. So strong and so focused one minute, hour, day, week, maybe month or year, on SERVING MY GOD, and then seemingly in an instant, sidetracked or distracted, or self -centered: hence disobedient and needing to once again be drawn to repentance and to asking for forgiveness. God, knowing that we would be a fickle, faltering -in-our-faith creation, STILL made a Plan to send Jesus to be Messiah, Redeemer, Immanuel. Jesus came, obedient even unto death for these sinful people and for US, for
"while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans reminds us. A freind just shared from a meeting in Toronto last night with speaker Bill Johnson. His words tie all of my thoughts together.
"Hosting the Presence" was his message. " Hosting His presence requires intimacy but not intimacy for the sake of ministry but for relationship, is what he said. " When the children of Israel took a stand for the Covenant, perhaps they did it too much for show, or under peer pressure , or with good intentions, but not in a way which caused them to move closer to God and stay there. Those people, WE today, needed/ need to draw close to God for the sake of drawing close to God, not so we can talk about it, but so we can be LIVING IN IT. An awesome Passover celebration quicky lost its awesomeness when the people reverted to their evil ways. Any special session of meetings here in 2010 can be awesome, draw people to salvation, deeper committments to the Lord, result in glorious manifestations of God's presence and power, but if we do not go after intimacy with God for the sake of our relationships WITH GOD, it will quickly fade away. What God did for the people in the Old Testament days was amazing. What God did for people in the New Testament was even more so. What He offers us NOW in that we can learn from those experiences , partake in ALL of them and have an incredible intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that is magnitudes of amazing. he hymn writer Alber Brumley said it so well, "He loved me 'ere I knew Him and ALL my love is due Him! He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flow"
When the Temple was destroyed in about 70 AD, the sacrifing of lambs for Passover ceased. (All sacrificing for all occasions) There was no longer a place for sacrifice to take place. That was about one genereation after THE LAMB was sacrificed, the last sacrifice needed for bloodshed to cover and atone for our sins. Jesus paid it all. That is more than reason for us to celebrate "such a Passover" ourselves. "The new Covenant" which Jesus brought with His blood is the Covenant for which it should now be said "All the people took a stand for the Covenant. " I want to live in this statement. I want to be seen living in it, I want to talk about it, but I want my words to reflect how I live.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let Haiti break you heart tonight, a borrowed post

A friend shared this post with our prayer group this morning and it is just too good to keep to myself, so well written and so worthy of being shared even more. Be blessed and be challenged as you read. I started to rearrange my playlist but John Waller's song "The Blessing" and its challenging words "... for your kingdom , for our children, for the sake of ev'ry nation we will choose to be a blessing for life. We will choose to be a blessing for Life..." fit very well.
Prayer for my husband & friend on way to Haiti
January 19, 2010 by Beth Jones
Zaka International (Jerusalem-based humanitarian organization) treat injured quake victim in Haiti
From Fox news today, I read more tragic stories, but am continuing to pray for God to help Haiti. The world has its eye on the devastated nation as the numbers of the estimated dead rise to about 200,000 and the homeless to about 1.5 million. Looting and violence with machetes, broken beer bottles, and guns is increasing, and doctors and medical staff are now treating gunshot wounds, in addition to critical injuries from the earthquake. Please continue to keep our pastor friend Jay and his family, school staff, and church staff in prayer for God’s protection, strength, and opportunities to minister the good news of Christ to the people – people in desperate need of hope and peace right now, in the midst of chaos and violence. Haitian police, U.N. peacekeepers, and other military are trying to restore civil order. We know the greatest protection that exists is the blood of Jesus!
Fox news says that looters are stealing toothpaste from broken shops to plug their noses from the stench of death that is everywhere. Bodies are being dumped into mass graves, burned, or left to rot on the streets. When I saw the pictures today of the dead bodies being left, unnoticed, on the streets, all I could think of was, “What’s their name?” These are human beings – people who mattered. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, co-workers, neighbors. People like you and me.
Every life counts. Every life is precious, and should be treated as such – from conception to death.
As I saw the videoes of the government’s dumptrucks dumping bodies into hurriedly dug mass graves – which is the government’s panicked attempt to deal with the horrible stench of rotting corpses and the high risk of an epidemic of disease – I was horrified.
Where is the dignity? Where is the honor for these people, in laying them to rest? Yes, I realize that it’s an incredible, complex problem, properly burying the mass numbers of these people. I don’t have the answers for exactly how to take care of this. But dumping these people into mass graves – treated worse than trash – is unacceptable, inhuman.
If you’re wanting me to get off the subject of Haiti because it’s already splattered all over the news, what if this tragedy had happened to you and your family? I can’t NOT talk about it. It matters too much. I look at the pictures in the news, I cry. I see the videoes, I am appalled and I cry. How can we not cry over this? God help us if our hearts are so hardened that we can’t cry, and we flip the t.v. channel to something more entertaining or click off the site to tweet or look at our friends’ photos on Facebook. This needs to get down deep inside of us, and impact us – and then we should DO something about it in a practical way.
Fox news said that Doctors Without Borders said their specialists are behind 48 hours because their medical staff’s planes were forced to land 200 miles away in the Dominican Republic. Our friend pastor Jay confirmed this report today, as Doctors Without Borders were supposed to come help him today with the field of injured people at his compound. Fox said that the front-line relief workers are begging for more food and especially water to feed the hungry and to give the thirsty something to drink.
Water is the highest priority right now. People can go days without food, but not water. The whole world has pledged to help Haiti. France has even agreed to forgive Haiti of its $55.7 million debt, and promised $14.4 million to the U.N. fund for Haiti. (,2933,583250,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g4:r1:c0.000000:b29879524:z0)
A very good lesson for all of us who need to forgive others!
We need to pray for food, water, and medical help for the people in Haiti – and to give. Fox news said that some people are blaming the U.S. military for slowing down help to Haiti, giving preference to U.S. military flights. Whatever the bottleneck is, it needs to be opened – fast!
The most effective way that bottleneck can be opened is through the power of our prayers. God fed the millions of Israelite in the desert, and gave them water to drink when there was nothing but desert. He can do the same for the people in Haiti.
After MUCH prayer and discussion between ourselves and with others, my husband Ray and I made a decision about what to do in a practical, real, and tangible way. Today Ray and his friend Shawn went to the Kansas City airport to fly to Miami, Florida. From Miami, Ray and Shawn are planning to catch a relief plane flight along with 175 doctors, to fly into Haiti very early tomorrow morning. We are praying this flight is not turned away and not rerouted to the Dominican Republic by officials in Haiti.
This will be Ray’s fourth missions trip to Haiti – but this time is very different and much more dangerous. They will be there at least two weeks for the medical mission, helping pastor Jay however they can.
Today Ray’s organization SEMSAR ( had an unexpected, large donation of medical supplies from Ray’s work (such as bandages, antibiotics, expired medications, sterile gloves, etc.). God is so awesome! I am praying that Ray’s and Shawn’s bags filled with these medical supplies got checked okay, and that Ray and Shawn are now safely in Miami, waiting for the flight to Haiti. These medical supplies are desperately needed right now in Haiti!
I am working on this end to get the Paypal “Donate” button on Ray’s website up and running asap for those who desire to help (having technical difficulties currently with the button!).
Tonight I encourage you to ask God what you can do to help Haiti. Not everyone can jump on a plane, and fly there – nor should everyone – only those who God instructs to do so. I wish SO much that I could be there, too, but Ray felt it was too dangerous a mission.
Please pray for Ray and Shawn to get there safely in the morning with no hold-ups for their flight arriving into Haiti, and God’s hand of protection on them until they come home. I will keep you posted on here. Ray wants to try to send me pictures of Haiti via email, but we’re not sure if there’s electricity or internet, and he’s going to be really busy while there.
For those of us here in America in our nice, safe, comfortable homes, we can pray – and can give in other practical ways, even if it’s a small $5 donation to the charity of one’s choice.
Let Haiti break your heart tonight. Mourn with those who are mourning right now in Haiti. Do something.

My husband Ray in uniform

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eric is post -op!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Anita's sister I heard that Eric was awake, albeit loopy, talkingabout wanting to go for awalk in the park with his kids! PRAISE GOD for successful surgery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have also heard that sweet little Abby does not have the fever of earlier but still having some breathing difficulties. We continue to pray!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rejoicing with a friend and requesting you join me in prayer

Our friends Eric and Anita have been friends for a long time. Anita was also our adoption co-ordinator for Naomi's adoption 8 years ago. We traveled to Vietnam together with them in March of 2002 and celebrated Eric's 30th birthday together there. He has had juvenile diabetes for a very long time and it has slowly destroyed his kidney function; he's been on the kidney donor list for a good long time with several "trial runs" which did not result in his getting a donor kidney BUT TONIGHT ERIC IS IN THE HOSPITAL PREPARING TO RECEIVE HIS NEW KIDNEY!!!!!!! Please join his family and friends in prayer for Eric's surgery, that all go smoothly, without complication or incident, that Eric's blood sugar would stay in a safe range throughout, and that they would all be intimately aware of God's presence every second of this exciting time!Anita posted a quick note on her blog. You won't find any info at this point but f you don't know her, you can read a bit about her family. Our sweet little friend Abby Riggs is back in the hospital today again. You can read about her story on her mom and dad's blog, but in case you are not familiar with Abby's story, she just turned 5 and has a very persistent and aggressive form of leukemia. Right now Abby is having trouble breathing and is running a nasty temp of over 104 degrees. Not fun for anyone, but especially not a little girl who would much rather be running and playing and dancing ballet. Won't you please join in prayer for Abby too? We know that our Heavenly Father loves our friends more than we ever could, and how wonderful it is that we know we can come boldly before the Throne of Grace with our praises and our prayers for them , knowing how He loves us all!

Friday, January 15, 2010

a little bit of update and some words freely borrowed form others

"This day, all His mercies are new. This day, every promise is true..Let my life be a preview of coming attractions! " What a great promise and what a challenge!! Its not an original from me...I borrowed it from someone who had borrowed it too.........

I love how God stirs hearts!!! Several people, when they heard that the group of nine siblings was now listed as a group of only seven, had been sure that the children had already been adopted. Obviously not so. How thankful I am that I got an email from RAINBOWKIDS.COM telling about these children and that I passed the info along!! A friend who is a seasoned mom of a growing family and who is still awaiting her newest son to to come home, and who is is a newlywed, told me that she and her husband felt that incredible tug at their hearts to say YES and to inquire about the children!!! There is a "possibility" that the older two who are 14 and 17 may be "too old" to be adopted with their yougner sibs. HOW SAD IS THAT!!? Please pray that these children would be allowed to be kept intact as a family, even in adoption...ESPECIALLY in adoption? We were put in a situation with our own sibling group of three where we were very close to "forced" to separate our children and leave our son behind forever. BUT GOD!!! Friends told me after Isaiah came home that they were drawing straws over who was going to tell me that THIS time I had gone too far in my prayers and THIS TIME God just could not answer my prayer with a "yes". BUT GOD!! And just now I received an email from AAI about a beautiful older three sib group in Ethiopia. PLEASE LORD, move on even more many children wait............stir in hearts a willing response to orphans that resonates "YES LORD YES LORD YES YES LORD YES LORD YES LORD YES YES LORD AMEN" and place even more of the solitary into families! (Psalm 68:6)

My dear freind's Father in Law was somewhat more comfortable last night, for which we are VERY thankful. AS we look at the new photo added to our living room collection, we are contstantly reminded to bring them before the Lord . Jill's children call their Grampa "PopPop" which is what we called my dad when he was still alive. We have decided to "Adopt" Pop Pop S as our Pop Pop. He has our photos in his hospital room too..............Here's lookin'at you Pop Pop. Please know that we are loving you and praying for you...each one of those faces you see smiling at you!!

Athen there's the Proverbs 31 onlne ministry. I absolutely love their devotionals and frequently share them with friends and family. Today's message " IS ignorance bliss?" is very powerful on a number of levels. I encourage you to really read it through and see if God has somethng to reveal to you. He did me!!!!!
Is Ignorance Bliss?
15 Jan 2010Leslie Nease, She Speaks! Graduate"Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused." Romans 1:21-22 (NLT)A wave of regret swept over me as I looked up the nutrition information on the pumpkin muffin I'd just consumed. It had a whopping 530 calories, 20 fat grams and 80 carbohydrates! Stunned, I wondered why I would ever want to know this information? Why did I look this up? Now I wouldn't be able to eat my pumpkin muffin in good conscience!Ignorance is bliss. Or is it?If I didn't know this nutritional information I would eat the muffin thinking that because it contains vegetable, it must be good for me! I mean, honestly - have you tasted one of these? But the truth is, eating a pumpkin muffin every day for the rest of my life might lead to some serious consequences. Heart disease, obesity, lack of energy and diabetes could be in my future. Now that I'm in the know, I can't deny the potential negative affects this could have. I have a responsibility and a decision to make, whether I like it or not.Similarly, it used to be easier for me to pretend God wasn't real--hell was made up and evil was something I could elude. But when faced with the reality that there is a God who I am accountable to, there is a hell, and evil is present; I knew I had some decisions to make. Instead of living in denial, I accepted that ignorance is not bliss and it was not doing me any favors. So I started to search for truth about God in the pages of His Word.Scripture is the one place where we can be sure we will find all we need to know about God. However, many folks try to figure out God without the Bible; they want a god on their terms. This reminds me of diets that promise extreme weight loss while eating whatever you want without exercising. We would be in denial if we believed those promises. To lose weight, you have to know the nutritional value of food, work out regularly, and not eat pumpkin muffins every day! It's a conscious decision to daily invest in our health and there are no short cuts.Denying God's existence is not going to change the fact that He is there either. Ignorance is not bliss - it is ignorance.God makes Himself known to us through His Word. He says, "I Am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, NIV). We must make a conscious decision daily to invest in our spiritual health through learning about God through time in the Bible. We must connect and remain with Him. With God's Word lighting our path, we are armed with truth, so we can make informed decisions that will help us grow, not lead us into deception.Dear Lord, I pray our minds and hearts will be opened and softened to the truth of Your Word. Help us embrace it and learn, grow and walk in the freedom of knowing that You are real and You desire a relationship with us. I pray we will take Your hand as we walk through this life. Instead of living in ignorance, may we walk forward, realizing that Your Truth is what sets us free. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:Do You Know Him?Pierced By the Word by John Piper
Perplexing Proverbs by Susanne Scheppmann
For more encouragement check out
Hold It Up to the Light

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This week my life is not about me

I am praying fervently for the Father in Law of a dear friend. He is battling cancer and incredible pain. He is also fighting his need for a Savior, a far more serious fight. He has lived a good life, has a great marriage, super and gracious wife, made a great living, has a terrific son and grandchildren..........but his name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Not yet. In his incredible pain and grogginess the other day, he did consent to his son laying hands on him and praying for him. THAT was huge and I pray it began a journey in his spirit that he thought he didn't need to take: a journey leading to his redemption, salvation and the promise of a life everafter which so surpasses anything he accomplished on his own while on earth. I am praying for his wife as well...a lovely gracious lady who also needs to meet Jesus.
Also heavy on my heart is a family of 9 siblings in the Phillipines...younger 7 and for them as well. NINE sibling children with no parents ...and I am praying that God stirs the hearts of the people who could , would, and should BE Mommy and Daddy to these beautiful children.

I began to follow this blog just few days ago. WHAT A TESTIMONY of faith...........
What a tragic early earthly ending of a marriage; we will be praying for Michael in his time of grief, and praising God for his true composition...please see that he asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made for the people in Haiti

Brenda D. Pink
August 18, 1947 – January 13, 2010

Today at 3:40 PM, the light of my life went out.
I am, at the moment… inconsolable.
She fought to the end, as did I.
We could do no more.

There is deep sorrow, but no regrets.
There are questions in my heart, but no accusations on my lips.
God is faithful and true… He is just and kind.
He loves like a hurricane… I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

A Celebration Service will be held at
Church at the Barn on Saturday, Jan 16 at 1:00PM

Directions to The Barn: Take I-75 to Sarasota, Exit 210, turn East onto SR 780 (Fruitville Rd.) Go approximately 15 miles until Fruitville deadends. Turn Right onto Myakka Road. Veer Left around "S" curve. After you pass a church/cemetery, turn Left on first dirt road, Rawls Road. On Rawls Road, go over first cattle gap. Turn Left at next dirt road. Look for moss green barn in the back pasture. For more information, call 941-322-2027.

In leiu of sending flowers, donations can be made in
Brenda's memory to Hand to the Plow Ministries
(16221 Rawls Road Sarasota, FL 34240-9147) toward
the Haiti Earthquake Restoration Fund.

Abba Father, please minister to the needs of each of these precious people, people for whom You sent Your Son to suffer and die, some who have received Your Spirit of adoption and they too are crying out ABBA FATHER but some who have not, and who need You so desperately on so many levels. Move on Your Church, Your body here on earth, to be Your hands and feet, Your ears, Your Words, Your voice. Use ME to be faithful in prayer, please keep me from a spirit of laziness, but keep me "instant in season" so I am ready for You to use. Please use this blog to touch other hearts to pray, to act, to seek You for all the areas of their lives where You would desire to be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Update - Sphere News

Haiti is so very heavy on my heart this morning. If you hve not read or heard about the earthquake, here is a link for an update.This very needy little nation just became even needier, and I know God is calling His Church to reach out in as many ways as we can to help these people for whom Jesus died. I'm praying about whihc way He wnas our family to do just that.
Haiti Earthquake Update - Sphere News

Monday, January 11, 2010

I know I'm filled to be emptied again. the seed I've received I will sow............

A friend shared this song with our prayer group this morning and I have been listening to it and meditating on it all day. Please scroll down and turn off my playlist so that you may soak up Desert Song!

DESERT SONG from Hillsong
Verse 1
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
Verse 2
This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame
Verse 3
This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
Verse 4
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

If I could pray a blessing over each of you who pop in to visit and occasionally read a post or a page or two, and those of you who "follow" my blog regularly, it would be that you would recognize yourself in the words of this song and act upon them according to God's riches in Glory as He has lavished and continues to lavish them, upon you. This song draws from so many precious scriptures: from those about our wonderful Jehovah Jireh, our Provider God , to Malachi's words about the refiner's fire to Isaiahs's words from the Lord promising that "no weapon forged against us would prosper" and Paul's assurance in Romans 8:37 that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us". Know with every fiber of your being that God is OUR victory, yours and mine, and HE is HERE, always with us, never to leave us or forsake us, our ever present help in times of trouble, Jesus promised "I am with you always ,even unto the end of the world."
May 2010 be a year in which you and I experience many new victories in Jesus in every area of our lives! I want to share what God gives me and teaches me so that it may manifest in the lives of others,the truths of God and His Word, drawing us all to a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father..."I know I'm filled to be emptied again......the seed I've received I WILL sow.............."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life in a Snow Globe

As if my Daniel news was not amazing enough yesterday, God let me (and a lot of others in my part of OK) experience something that I have never experienced before in my life! Tiny droplets of moisture, or flakes of ice resulting from that moisture in the air create an incredible SNOW GLOBE environment! Millions and milions of silvery ice flakes float and fly all over the sky shimmering and sparking as they float..........more beautiful than words can really describe and nothing that my camera (or my ha ha ha photography skills ) could capture. This went on all morning long! Standing at the window of the 3rd floor of the building where we hold our worship servces, during and after music team practice, made the whole experience even more multi-dimentional. Praising God for His display of awesome creativity. Thanking Him that He gave me the opportunity to see it It was amazingly beautiful!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

WE G O T I T !!!!!

The long awaited medical report came in yesterday!!!!! Daniel's adoption decree and passport processes start this week!!!
I am over the moon excited, walking and leaping and praising God, dancing a WILD dance and sighing hugh sighs of relief!!! WE GOT IT! Its officially in the final stages toward completion. Daniel will be coming home, truthfully.....soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hallelujah hallelujah HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

ALL about Africa and friendship

Still eagerly anticipating GOOD WORDS about Daniel's case, particularly one document which has taken a very long time to obtain, but we are holding out optimism that TODAY was THE Day. Received some precious photos of our baby boy today...we'd sent a package to missionary friends with a stuffed elephant for Daniel and a photo of us with him from wayyyy back in March. What it did to my heart to see him playing with his toy and to see our photo in his bed with him, well, there are just not always words to describe the ponderings of a Mamma heart, are there?

I am so absolutely totally ready, paperwork in the file ready, travel agent on stand-by ready to go get our baby boy!!! As soon as the green lights show up: those long awaited docs in order, the next steps taken and accomplished, I am on my way! BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE!! On one side or the other of the BRINGING DANIEL HOME trip, is the ETHIOPIA with Jill - trip!! My dear friend is completing the adoption of her new daughter in Ethiopia and has asked me to come with her on that trip. I was beyond humbled and honored for her husband and her to ask me and thrilled that it is really happening! We talked itineraries last night and goose-bumped together over this trip and goose bumped anew at lunchtime when the itineraries were sent out from the travel agency to the two of us. We see a lot of wonderful fellowship, praise and worship in our future as well as the forever uniting of mother and daugther! For her sake, I am very glad that another friend will also be in Ethiopia at this time so that SOMEONE can take photgraphs! While Jill is incredibly talented with a camera, I am much better at appreciating photos than at taking them, sadly. WOW!!!!! A month from today we will be in Ethiopia!! Its so amazing to think about. God has grown a friendship between Jill and me that has taken us into the more casual levels of a friendship/sisterhood as well as into the deep matters of our spirits. It was Jills' daughter Lexi we did our CLEAN WATER 4 CHRISTMAS party for. God has given Jill a deep love for the main characters in the "Malachi and Sopheak Story " which has made her a precious prayer partner with me for them. For two February birthday girls, this adventure is the birthday gift of a lifetime! We are believing that by then end of February we will BOTH have our children home!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Smithsoup Christmas photos from 2009, updated

Christmas Eve we always open one gift, but after everyone has gone to sleep, the Mamma puts everyone's stockings together for Christmas morning discovery . Always much more about edible treats than toys, this year's stockings had the usual beef jerky, some favorite choices of candy, beef summer sausange sticks and a new choice: jars of baby dill pickles! The little toy things are fun to play with, but OH YES!!! PICKLES and BEEF JERKY...that's the vision dancing in my little ones' heads! Forget sugar plums...give us pickles. Here is Naomi telling Isaac he needs to WAKE UP and examine his stocking.
We had a real WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! Snow is not really very common in central Oklahoma ever, but to have snow on Christmas is especially unusual and for it to accumualate and last for days and days is really a rare treat for snow-lovers!!! Everyone was so busy playing in it that not very many photos of the players were taken!
As the snow kept coming down harder and harder, I was more and more convinced that I was NOT going out in it to take any photos! This was taken through the back door
The boys get ready to go milk the goats and play in the late night snow...wait till you see what Jael decided she "had to wear" to go out in that same cold snow!!
l Isaiah standing in the snow drift at the back door
Jael said that the snow just required a bathing suit and Santa hat. She asked that I take some just-for-fun snow photos. Shortly after I took the photos for her, the boys bombarded her with snowballs and she decided to come in. NOT the most modest photos I have ever taken,, I agree. Her bathing suits are usually covered with a t-shirt, but the effect would have been lost on the snow she insisted, so I did her photo shoot! ***Since I got some feed back about the bathing suit photos I took them down. It was not my intent to offend anyone.
In another Christmas outfit, here's Jael: Ausie bush hat, her friend's West Point Plebe Cadet dog tags, wrapped up in a very fuzzy blanket for a shawl, furry sleep pants and wedge heeled shoes: in plaid, to match the pants, if you please!! Life is just a lot of fun if you are Jael Shamar!


Never one to waste an opportunity or to pass up an adventure, Isaac decided to seize the day, and the snow, to build an igloo! He worked so hard packing the snow into a cooler chest to make "blocks" then he packed and packed and stacked and stacked to get this far on his Igloo. He's not done yet , days later it s still a work in progress! He has added to it since the photos were taken, the bitter cold has kept it all quite nicely frozen for him, if there IS such a thing as "nicely frozen"

We were invited to go on a carriage ride the Wednesday before Christmas. By the time our turn came, it was too dark for a good photo, but this was our carriage and driver and while it was SUPER COLD, it was a lot of fun!!! Thanks Dearingers for inviting us to share with you!

Can you see Naomi's face?????

MckLinky Blog Hop

Taking down the Yellow ribbons!!

We have had yellow ribbons tied to the mailbox,and the front porch pillars, the rose trellises, and the antenae of our vehicles almost non-stop since the War began. Today, I took camera and scissors, and took down our yellow ribbons! Joshua called this morning from HOME, Caleb is here, and while the War is not over , and neither is our family involvement, for NOW, all the Keyser-Smith men are HOME on American soil. Its good to see my Toggenburg goat "Calico Acres Farm" logo not wearing "any clothes"!

Snipping the ribbon off the porch pillar!!!