Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Joyfully you will pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation"

This last week was a very busy one for me. Baby Charlie was sick with an ear infection and upper respiratory infection, so he was more hands-on than a 5 month old baby usually is, and that's a lot anyhow as Y'all may know! We were getting over the violent stomach bug which hit almost all of us, myself included, and then with my immunities down a bit I was prime prey for Baby Charlie's "Bug" and I felt a cold/bronchitis settling into my left lung fields. I'm not usually one to go to the doctor easily but having had pneumonia several times because I waited too long to go to a doctor, this time I went on Sick Day # 3. Sure enough there was a deep bronchitis creeping into my upper lobe of my left lung, just as I recognized. Anitbiotics, prednisone and Teslon Perles are GREAT meds for what was attacking me. I am so thankful that I am NOT truly SICK, I have not lost my voice, have not gone into deep coughing jags which take away my breath, and thankful that I will not have pneumonia. There are some symptoms, but so much milder than when I try to ignore them and hope for simultaneous healing. I so appreciate the technology God has given to men and women of science!! God has healed me instantly and miraculously, well miraculous to me, but not to Him, healed me of a number of things , incuding a broken back. I know that God does heal instantly. For those times when he does NOT, I praise Him for the natural remedies, therapies, medicines and doctors HE has ordained for His use in His people. Blessed be the Name of the Lord Who does all things well!! My Sunday School class has memorized a passage in Isaiah 12 this month. It is the praise of my heart right now. One version even mentions Heavenly "plumbing". As I'll explain in a moment, we still have major plumbing issues. They are "baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkkkk"
Regardless, God's Word commands us to Give thanks to God Call out His name Ask Him anything!!!! From THE MESSAGE it reads like this:

Isaiah 12:4 3-6 (Joyfully you'll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation ( I LOVE the plumbing reference don't you? We did not have plumbing issues when our class started memorizing the passage)
And as you do it, you'll say,)
"Give thanks to God.
Call out his name.
Ask him anything!
Shout to the nations, tell them what he's done,
spread the news of his great reputation!
Isaiah 12:5
5-6"Sing praise-songs to God. He's done it all!
Let the whole earth know what he's done!
Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel."

In NEW CENTURY, which is how I taught it to my students:

4 At that time you will say,
"Praise the Lord and worship him.
Tell everyone what he has done
and how great he is
5 Sing praise to the Lord, because he has done great things.
Let all the world know what he has done.
6 Shout and sing for joy, you people of Jerusalem,
because the Holy One of Israel does great things before your eyes."

This on going plumbing thing has caused me to examine myself carefully so that how I live is what I teach, that how I respond to this very earthy issue is with a Godly response before my children, my husband, and the folks to whom I share the saga of the pipes, THAT is for sure!!! I was able to share with an older Christian friend yesterday that GOD has shown Himself to be such a Practical Comfort in this otherwise icky human thing. She was telling me about how she'd be so discouraged if it were her plumbing and her family with sickness, and didn't I think that maybe everything that could go wrong was certainly going wrong for us? WELL that has occurred to me, ( I say with a wink) but I am remembering that I know, remembering to remember, learning to remember better, remembering to learn better that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, and that I CAN be content .."whatever my lot"................. and WE ARE FINE. WE ARE BLESSED BEYOND THE CURSE and we are overcoming. WE WILL ENDURE! We've been reminded how important it is to share, and be courteous and considerate of each other (short showers folks, short trips to the toilet...NO reading or meditating allowed in there right now!!) This is also a very real reminder to us that plumbing is something that we SO take for granted, and which actually half of us started life without!
We have some plumbing , it is limited, with the functioning plumbing being from propane it is going to be super expensive again next month. its not like having or not having raw sewage in ones' bathtub should be a life-option.... While it was adoption and surgery money that our tax refund was designated for, PRAISE GOD, there will be money to pay for new plumbing. This will not be a debt-incurring situation. God will provide for the shortfall in the adoption /surgery fund if that should need providing for. We will get bids early this week and hopefully by next week or so we will have new properly installed plumbing and our systems will be rebuilt, restored, and greatly appreciated with a new appreciation for the wonders of indoor plumbing. Oh, WHAT IS OUR PLUMBING ISSUE? When our house was addedonto years before we ever moved in, a slab addition was connected to the old house which is on piers. Instead of installing the new pipes in a concrete "sleeve" to protect them from the weight of the addition, they just poured concrete around the new pipes and linked them to the old pipes. There is also a height differential which was not adequately addressed at that time. The result? Our pipes have been gradually crushed by the weight of the concrete and twisted into a sort of zig-zag where the two heights were not graduated together correctly (this is my total LAY PLUMBER explanation.IF you are knowledgable of these things and have better info,PLEASE SHARE WITH ME!!!!) What we thought was just stuff clogging the pipes was only a small part of the problem. The stuff of life was getting clogged in a shrinking diameter of jagged piping. We were doing OK till Friday after noon when a visitor didn't know we had issues and used paper. That one use was enough to be more than enough. The last plumber told us we might buy a week of time by not using paper, and using the system very sparingly. He was right. I am thankful for plumbers. I have no desire to BE a plumber, I am pretty sure most plumbers would not want to be a mom to 17 children or be nurse -midwives. Blessed be the Lord,Who daily loads us with benefits,The God of our salvation! Selah Psalm 68:19

Louie Giglio LAMININ

This is an amazing snippet of a teaching that will bless your socks off!! No sacrilige intended, but "if it were not so , I would have told you."


Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring WILL come, I know it will

The crocuses tell me so! At least the first crocus of 2010 is trying to tell me so. I woke up to find one lone bloom in my garden yesterday morning. There are lots of green sprouts promising return on my hours of bulb planting last fall: more crocus, tiny grape hyacynth, snow drops, many different varieties of daffodils, narcissus, hyacynth, and a bit later on lots of tulips. For now, ONE LONE ORANGE crocus stands alone to herald in a season we are very eager to welcome! I can't complain about our winter, truly I am not complaining. That said, we do NOT live in a region of the USA where accumulated snow and prolonged periods of cold weather are part of the expected seasonal outcome. In Oklahoma, there is some winter: it rarely has snow, that snow rarely sticks, our heating bills are just no where close to the extremes of our cooling bills in the winter time. THIS WINTER however, we have had more cold and snow than in the previous 9 winters combined!! My propane tank has seen more activity than I care to remember!! I was thrilled today to discover it was a "warm" 35. Tomorrow we are anticipating 54!!! I am thankful that a snowstorm predicted for our area stayed away from us. I am thankful fortheability to get warmer than I am: always thankful for the wood my menfolk spend so much time finding, chopping , splitting ,stacking to keep the front of the house warm all winter. I just think enough is enough and I am ready to stop burning wood for warmth. I am ready to get outside and start a new garden, ready for my new seson of baby goats to arrive in safe warm temperatures. The crocus may stand alone today, but I know she has lots of company coming and the cold will be gone! COME SPRING!!!

And as is the case in a super sized family , it is almost always someone's birthday. Our beautiful future daughter-in-love , Sopheak had a birthday today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SOPHEAK!!! We love you so very much and can't wait for you to join our family!

This is a fun photo for me. Caleb and Joshua, BOTH now home from the Middle East for a time, were able to have a brotherly reunion at Joshua's house last weekend. Yes, that is for those of you who know or care about these sorts of things ( and I do NOT) an 18 year old Scotch whiskey saved just for a very special occasion , and it IS a genuine Cuban cigar. I will happily overlook the props to be thoroughly thrilled that both my older sons are home and safe and able to celebrate their accomplishments, their relationship, and that I am blessed to
be their mom!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From another mamma with a heart for Liberia

Angel Rutledge blogs at rutledge6; the link is just below. She is an adoptive mamma, and an adoption services provider with a wonderful heart after God's own and her post echoes my own, in slightly different words.My heart cries out with hers "COME LORD JESUS!"
With her permission I am sharing her link and post.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tragic Death of Lydia Schatz http://http//
On Saturday, February 13th, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died after being beaten severely over the course of multiple days by her adoptive parents.
There are so many levels to this tragedy that a week after learning about it, I still can't wrap my mind around it.
The tragedy of a little girl being physically beaten, no tortured, until she died by the very people who swore to protect her, worsened by...
The tragedy that the parents claimed and believed that what they were doing was a form of "godly discipline",
worsened by...
The tragedy that there must be other parents out there who espouse to a similar philosophy since it is encouraged in a book by Michael Pearl called To Train up a Child,
worsened by...
The tragedy that Lydia had been adopted three years ago because the beginning of her life in Liberia was so difficult, worsened by...The tragedy that there are seven other children in the Schatz family, two of them Liberian, who also endured similar beatings,
worsened by...
The tragedy that the oldest Liberian child nearly died along with Lydia, worsened by...The tragedy that Liberia has had a moratorium on adoptions for over a year, partly due to fears that children were being harmed by their adoptive families. A fear that adoption service providers have spent the past year trying to calm with the facts that the vast majority of children who are adopted internationally are incredibly blessed in their new lives,
worsened by...
The tragedy that progress was being made in Liberia towards a resolution to the moratorium,
worsened by...
The tragedy that I can't figure out a way to guarantee anyone that something like this will never happen again.
Though I have witnessed a great deal of spiritual warfare in Liberia, this past week and a half has been the worst.
The chorus from an Andrew Peterson song has been running through my head for several days: So, Amen Come, Lord Jesus Amen Oh, Amen Come, Lord Jesus Amen
Times like this make me long for the day when we will sit together in heaven with Jesus and see the faces of each child that did not have a voice but had infinite value.
I am so weary of this battle that seems to get more intense as time goes on. I long for God to make His glory known in some magnificent way. And some days I simply want to walk away. But, really, that's not an option. I am convinced that Jesus is in this battle and wherever He is, that's where I will stay.
God's word is so good. Romans 8 has come alive to me in a new way today. And a couple of days ago, Dan sent me Proverbs 21:30, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.
"No matter how hard Satan fights, the truth is that no plan can succeed against the Lord.It's just so hard that on this side of heaven, there is death.
Posted by Angel at 5:29 PM Links to this post

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Liberian orphan news that no one wants to hear

Last week a story came out of California about an adoptive family: a large Christian home schooled family who following some advice they'd been given on "Scriptural discipline," beat their 7 year old Liberian daughter to death with a piece of plumbing pipe of some kind or another. They also beat the 11 year old Liberian child as well, but not quite to death. She is on dialysis, in hopes of regaining kidney function. The 6 or 7 other children are in protective foster care; the parents are in jail. http://http// is the link to the whole story. My heart is broken over this situation! HOW could anyone so severly beat a 7 year old ( and the story reports that this beating was over the child mis-pronouncing a word) that she would die?????????????????? Loosing ones "cool" once and beating a child out of anger is inexcusable and absolutely unacceptable, but to plan that this would be how to "Train up a child", to plan it and to do this unthinkable deed? To a 7 year old? I can not fathom this situation, I just can't. That a family who , on the surface , might seem to have quite a bit in common with our family and yet who is accused of this atrocity............that flies up in the face of everything that I hold dear ! The assault on Christianity, adoptive families, adoption, large families and home schooling, this is so much bigger than the headline "CA Family Arrested for beating Child to Death". This is very personal for me. As I ache so deeply to bring our children home from Liberia, as I raise the bio babes and the adopted children we have been blessed with and help raise my grandchildren, I can't wrap my brain around wounding, beating , torturing, or taking the very life from any of my children for ANY reason. When I speak too harshly , I am so convicted that it does not take very long at all for God to move on me to repent and then to ask my child(ren) for their forgiveness. I am quivering thinking of how a Godly parent could act as these parents are accused of acting. And beyond the case in California, WHAT OF THE ADOPTION CASES ALREADY LOCKED UP IN LIBERIA? How might this story affect how the Liberian officials view the current group of adoptive families? Concern over American families disrupting ( essentially a divorce betweent the adoptive family and the adoptive child) a high number of Liberian adoptions was a big factor in the suspension being imposed. Many questions were being asked about why this was happening so often. Add that concern to THIS story and you have the formula for a lot of scared officials feeling justified in maintaining the suspension indefinitely. Of course there are far more great adoption stories than adoptions gone badly.................but bad news sells. Happy endings just don't seem to have the "draw" so this story as awful as it is, looks bigger when offset by not so many of the good stories. I pray the after-shock events for adoptions to come are not awful as well!
The families who are so very close to being allowed to complete their adoptions in Liberia as the year-old + suspension on adoptions continues are drawing in a sharp deep breath and wondering when they will be able to exhale. For us, one step further out than that, the thought, aside from trusting God to make beauty out of a new pile of ashes is "NO! Not something else!"
The wait for our Liberian children has been so long already, so long. Will this have the ripple effect of causing an even longer suspension than what is in progress now?
Adoption service folks in Liberia are issuing a statement to address this tragedy in California.

The Adoption Service Providers of Liberia were stunned and outraged to learn last week of the severe corporeal punishment inflicted on all the Schaltz children which resulted in the death of a seven-year-old Liberian girl who was adopted in 2007. Heartsent Adoptions in California conducted and approved the home study for the family which was subsequently approved by the courts in Liberia. The adoption agency that facilitated her adoption in Liberia has reviewed the family’s home study that was provided to them and found nothing to indicate that the adoptive parents were capable of such atrocities. At this time, the adoptive parents are in jail being held on a $2 million dollar bond and have the potential to each receive two life sentences in prison. The remaining children in the family, 6 biological and 2 adopted, have been placed in safe homes while the case is being investigated. Authorities in the U.S. have made the children’s well-being a top priority.
The Liberian Adoption agency is working with the police in California to ensure that justice is served. The Adoption Service Providers strongly condemn the actions of the adoptive parents and stand with the government and people of Liberia in grieving the loss of this little girl.

Please pray with us for the child who is recovering from her beatings? This dear child, who if she does not know it now, will face soon the news that her sister is dead. Pray for the children of this family who are now in Foster Care, for the older children who were being trained in this family form of teaching, for the Liberian officials who have heard and are hearing this sad sad story: that they will not "knee-jerk" react to this mess with penalties for any of the rest of us? Please join us in prayer that we , the waiting adoptive families will NOT allow a spirit of fear into our hearts but that we would cling to and abide in what God has given us (not "a spirit of fear ) but of POWER , and of LOVE and a SOUND MIND" ? God CAN and I BELIEVE will, make beauty of these ashes. I pray that no one else add actions to the situation which are also nothing more than "ashes." Charlie and I are praying right now about my going to Liberia. We had started talking about it before we first heard about this California story, and have continued to pray for direction. It seems as though my going over to Liberia to advocate for Daniel in person might maybe be the turning point in some people's minds in terms of getting documents from Point A to Point B. MAYBE....................................... I am feeling a strong pull to Junior and Diamoh as well: to go and love on them, remind them that we have not forgotten them or forsaken them, to pour out a large dose of Mamma -love all over them as best I can for as long as I can. PERHAPS at the end of the trip Daniel will be totally paper ready to come home. It seems to be a gamble; I am NOT a gambler, or....................Is it stepping out on faith and I need to make that first step?
I covet your prayers for God's wisdom, God's direction, that God would show us how to decide on making this trip right now. Liberia is heavy on my heart. I know there is Warfare going on in Heavenly places over the very lives of these children. As I pray that God work and be glorified in the Big Picture, I pray from Psalm 91:1 for the children."that He will give His angels charge over them to keep them in all their ways!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Because I really have been blessed by Kutlass' song "That's What Faith Can Do" I decided to buy the cd which includes it. GOOD DECISION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The title song "It is Well" is a wonderful blend of a very traditional version of the old hymn which "morphs" into a contemporary version.It's GOOD!! The second song has me caught up in it, and caught up tightly! This is "Amazed". Please turn off my regular playlist so you may be blessed by the music and the worship of this song. You WILL be drawn in. You WILL worship. You WILL be glad and will probably hit "replay" so you can do it again! I did.

I will lift my eyes

to the Maker of the mountains I can't the Liberia mountain. Like the "can't find a plumber who can come to my house yesterday or today" mountain
and the "dishwasher is not working either " mountain. Some "mountains are much smaller than others, for sure!!
I will lift my eyes to the Healer of the hurts I hold the hurt for sweet Daniel who so desperately needs surgery, and mamma-arms around him. daddy protection over him, my hurts for Junior and for Diamoh, still waiting for Mommy and Daddy to come back for them. They knew we had asked to be their parents for 6 months before we got to meet them last year. Now, its been a year since we did get to meet them, spend time together, form bonds and build hope.I know how I am hurting for them, I wonder what hurts they are harboring. I know some of them, and this makes me hurt more for them all over again. Lord thank You so much that You gave us these precious children to love and to pray over, to care about, even if it is from so far away. Please by Your Spirit minister that love to each of them, with comfort, safety, protection, peace..even if they do not know how to ask You for these things themselves. There are my hurts for Naomi whose Hepatitis B viral load counts keep climbing in spite of ongoing chemo-therapy. So far all of her liver panel numbers are great, but the viral load count: the number of active Hep B virus hanging out in her body, just goes higher and higher. She has a really mutant strain of Hep B which does not respond much if at all to meds, and if it does, it is only for a very short time. Being a small child, her med options are very limited. Being a child causes her body to grow fater than the meds can work agaisnt the virus. Being Asian, her body is least of all the races likely to respond to the medications anyhow. We are so very thankful that she is with us where we have access to great medical care, and can monitor her disease and be ready to act at the first sign of anything going wrong. I praise God that He has kept us from a spirit of fear over the Hep B and what it can potentially do to our daughter, but I hurt for her. She is very pragmatic about taking her meds, we discovered colored plastic shot glasses and marked them with the dose mark to make med taking a bit more creative, we are all open about universal precautions for Hep B but for ALL OTEHR FAMILY COOTIES TOO, but particularly about blood issues. She hates going to the Pedi-Gastro-enterologist: hates it. NOT because of getting blood drawn. That part is her favorite starngely enough. She HATES having to talk about Hep B, hates being the center of attention BECAUSE of Hep B. My gregarious spunky 8 year old turns into Shrinking Violet the moment we enter the hospital where her doctor's office is. She comes out of it when we leave to go to the lab. The lab ladeis know her so well, having drawn her blood for 7 years now (pretty amazing to have lab techs stay that long , I think, Must be a great place to work) but they do NOT talk about Hep B. They talk about the other stuff in Naomi's life: horses (her passion)school: reading and math, her family, where we will go eat after we leave the lab. Those sweet ladies help so much to get Naomi rebalanced, but I digress. She DOES have a serious disease raging inside of her. Her body has yet to recognize the virus or send out a single cell of defense or immunity. Its hard to believe sometimes because she is so full of life and energy. We cherish that, we care for her so carefully, making sure that she eats well, gets good nutrition and vitamins, rest and exercise. As with all of our children, we have filled her, immersed her, exposed her and surrounded her with the saving love of God. She gave her heart to Jesus three years ago; she was baptized two years ago and shared her sweet testimony. Her concern whenever she hears of another sick child IS if that child knows Jesus! She aches for Junior and Diamoh and Daniel to be home with the family so she can love on them!

Lord, I know in Your time You will move these mountains or open the "passes" so that we may climb through them. Keep my eyes focused on YOU and not the mountains or the hurts or whatever they may cause us to experience...............only on YOU so I don't get ahead of You or lag behind. Yes Lord, I will choose to lift my eyes, lift my eyes..................TO YOU!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I am going to be praying that TOMORROW is the day that we actually receive word that Daniel has an official ADOPTION DECREE. All that is needed is for the judge to receive a letter from a Ministry person authorizing him to sign off on the decree. The letter requesting this signature was received Tuesday. Its been holidays since for the Liberian government but back to work now. Our case will not get off the judge's desk until he has this signature. There is very little else after that until we have an appointment with the Embassy for Daniel's visa. OK, so I won't be in Liberia for my birthday on Saturday, probably won't be en route to Liberia for my birthday, but it could be CLOSE! I am aching to see our other children as well, an ache which kind of waned for a while for some reason, but I have been rekindled and set ablaze to pray for and advocate for and be with Junior and Diamoh again. It seems so impossible that it has been almost a year since we were in Liberia with our children....a YEAR????????????????? No adoptions? NO progress? No new laws? How I praise God for sustaining our children thus far, but there have been hard times a plenty. I have no idea what 21010 holds for the children of Liberia, but I know what my heart is crying out for: justice for the children, new adoption laws that work FOR THE CHILDREN, that the matched children be set free and allowed to come home, that new families be drawn to other waiting much more! As our little Liberian friends come to visit and I watch them run and play, my heart is so full of praise that they came home almost two years ago (right before we found out about Junior and Diamoh) and so full of longing for our Liberian children to be here too. I am trusting You Lord as You open the doors direct our path!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baptism in Mae Wang, Thailand

http://Malachi's home school high school basketball coach was a terrific guy named Rob, who married a lovely Godly young woman named Jordan, who was raised in a missionary family, in Thailand. When Rob and Jordan got married they knew that God was calling them into full time missions, maybe to Cambodia, but probably to Thailand. That is where they are. This video came from them tonight and is a wonderful testimony of what God is doing in this little village.( Rob is the tall "white guy") Please scroll down and turn my playlist off while you watch this so you don't miss anything? Be blessed as you watch , be a blessing after you watch!!
I wanted to share Rob and Jordan's latest update as well:
Power of Prayer team,
May the peace and grace of God rest upon all of you this new year. As we reflect upon what God has done throughout 2009 we see his good and perfect will in our lives. We cannot express how grateful for your continued and persistent prayers. We cannot count the shower of blessings that our good Lord has given us by his grace. As we are half way done with our time here in Thailand, we have been through struggles, pain, hurt, and disappointment, but he has always been faithful and has always seen us through. We have seen huge works of God recently and by God’s grace have an opportunity to share these praises. On Christmas day we had 70 people in our home for Christmas dinner. We got a chance to share the true meaning of Christmas and why Jesus birth was sign of God’s love for all humanity. We then started a new group, at a nearby university, in one of our partner’s home. Pray for them as starting a group in Thailand is only possible with God changing the hearts of man. During that same week our team baptized 12 people in the village that we had been faithfully working in for the last 8 months. God is good and His story changes people’s hearts. Nong Nat the boy who cannot walk was one of those that was baptized. Our group that meets in our home is growing with what can only be explained as the Holy Spirit. The group of believers have grown to people who are focused and giving their life to serving God. They are all working full time jobs and yet are working tirelessly to proclaim the good news of gospel. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing that we have learned since being over here is there is a battle going on but it is not a war that we normally think of, it is the battle for souls of men. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand. Ephesians 6: 10-13.
We love you and miss you dearly. Send us your prayer requests that we may lift you up during our times of prayer.
In Christ,
Rob & Jordan

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I love this corney old Motown love song by the Stylistics! Its early 1970's and just a simple love song. Along with so much other music I have taught my children over the years, I know they learned a lot by "default" was just around so often. I sang this old BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW to the kids as a lullaby and even today they will hear it in a store or somewhere and start to sing along. How can you not like the Stylistics? I guess you could, but I can't. "Masterpiece " is another lullaby and "default song" at our house. I sang it for the first time as a solo when our Caleb was very little. He memorized the Scripture from Psalm 139 which Sandi Patti uses in her recording of the song, and he recited it for me. From that moment on it became what my children call "THE SONG" I have sung it many times since Caleb was small, including at Malachi's high schol graduation, to Leah, Rachel and Isaiah in Cambodia when they were so scared on our first evening togther, I sang it to Baby Charlie the night he was born and have sung it to him ever since. That in mind, I rearranged my play list for Jael in honor of her birthday and for Valentines' Day which only exists because of God our Heavenly Father. our Father who calls us the "apple of His eye" and whom Scripture tells us "sings over us".... LOVE.........For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life!" "We love Him because HE FIRST LOVED US" "But God commends His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!" BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW................that is love!!!!!!!!!!! God has given us a tiny understanding of His love and sometimes we use it wisely and sometimes we frankly waste it. Waste it on the superficial, the temporal, the unimportant. For Valentine's Day I want to focus on not wasting a minute of this secular "holiday" on silly stuff. I want to love on my family , offer my best to my Father, pray more lovingly for others, set a new bar for what "Valentine's Day" is really about........God who created love, pouring that love out on us so tht we could pour it out on others. The last line of "Desert Song" resonates in my heart over and over and fits right here...
"I know I'm filled to be emptied again The seed I 've received I will sow........"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy birthday Jael Shamar!

Life should look like fun. This was life!

My youngest bio-babe will officially be 16 years old tonight at 9:30 tonight! Born at home in our newly re-built house, weighing in at a tiny 6# 10 ounces she was our smallest baby by 1/2 ounce! Not our earliest although she was 5 weeks early, but tiny!! Esther at 35 weeks was a healthy 7# 7 oz!! Like most of my birthing experiences, the labor was fast and hard, and compared to passing a gall stone or needing a root canal, EASY!!!!!!!!!!!! Contractions last about a minute, they go away. One can handle pretty much anything for a minute. Unlike headaches which serve no purpose but still cause pain, the laboring to birth a baby is hard, at some points: painful, work. When you have finished laboring, YOU HAVE A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have had headaches last much longer than any of my labors. I'll take labor any day, thank you!!
The fast and so-characteristic -of-me labor is the variety I would wish for every woman. This spunky baby was a seasoned traveler to births with her Midwife Mamma from very early on, experienced airline passenger by age 2, a star ballerina at age 3, raiser of chickens, gerbils, and kittens by age 5, by age 6 she was the darling of the Homeless Shelter where we served on the board, and a world traveler at age 8 . (She and I went to Cambodia to get her new brother Noah) Throughout school she has excelled, and has dazzled and frustrated masses with her exuberance (she LOVES to talk!) That vivacious personality has served her well as a DECA (national marketing organization) officer, active member of Spanish, Young Republicans, and Literature Clubs as school. Her incredible talent in gymnastics earned her the State Championship in her division very early on. She works in a gymnastics studio now and the children she works with adore her. A future Veterinarian, she has been my faithful Vet-Tech when any animal situation needed my help. She's up for whatever adventure presents, but usually carefully examines the merits before undertaking any adventure. She appreciates that I don't have hard,rigid/inflexible curfews with tight boundaries. She says this reminds her that my trust in her is earned because she has chosen to obey the stated or implied guidelines on her own. That cell phone is always right nearby in case I do need to remind, but that is pretty rare. She chooses her friends carefully, and lets go of associations which are not good for her. Peer pressure is what SHE sets, not what she falls into. EXCEPT for her aversion to doing the laundry, which IS her chore, and for which she does loose phone privileges and does get grounded, this is a pretty-much all- around awesome young woman-child.
I love you dear Jael Shamar. You are one of my very precious treasures, "Little lamb of God, you are a masterpiece!"



READING CHARLOTTE'S WEB to our pig at the Guiness World Book of Records Simlutaneous READ ALOUD whre we gathered other home schoolers at our pig pen to do our part to earn this record.

Before BRACES and after


Thursday, February 11, 2010


OH my!!! Thank you dear friend Susan for your quick post last night! In my writing about music and AWANA yesterday while spell checking my words, etc etc, I somehow MISSED entirely that I had badly misquoted the verse which was my whole point in writing! It is NOT "ASHAMED WORKMEN ARE NOT ASHAMED" That is just silly! What I THOUGHT I'd said and what I of course meant to say was "APPROVED WORKMEN ARE NOT ASHAMED"
This workman is for the moment just a bit ashamed!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


If you've read one of my blog posts or more, you know I am so all about music. God speaks to me through His Word and He speaks to me through music , specifically: anointed music He has gifted others to write, compose and publish for the edifying of the Body and for ministering to hearts and lives all over His world. It seems no matter what the situation in life. God has ALWAYS (please note I use this word SO sparingly and carefully) sung a song over my spirit while placing a Scripture in my mind. There have ben a few Scriptures which He has led me to put to music for my children, but it has never been what I would call a "gift" or a "Calling" to write songs.For the times that I needed point specific Scriptures set to music which my children and I could sing, God was, of course, faithful. As the leader of our praise team at church I spend a lot of time listening to music that we as a small body can learn and sing together. Some music while AWESOME to praise God with when I am alone , just does not always "work" for a small group. Even songs that sound wonderful in my little computer corner while I worship to Youtube videos or my CCLI web site and others to edit music into keys and octaves our body can comfortably sing, are just not so awesome when I bring them to our team or to our body. So I keep listening and praying and singing and learning. Some music while it may get a lot of play time on Christian radio stations, says little or nothing of substance or has a melody so (what my mother would refer to as ) Johnny-one-note" that if there is a message, its lost in itself. Some tunes, while having awesome lyrics and message, offend Christians who hold a personal "Strong Christian music genre" belief. To lead praise and worship is to be mindful of those things while still being responsible for not simply "leading the singing" but for LEADING GOD'S PEOPLE IN WORSHIP and IN PRAISE...there is also a responsibility to teach worship as well. I take all of that so seriously. Studying music this week involved studying 2 Timothy 2:14-17. My children learned this passage for AWANA club over the years and as a result it is a passage which comes quicky to my mind as well. "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" forms the acronym AWANA but the passage goes deeper for me as I pray over praise and worship in our church services. I posted seveal versions of this passage because of the semantic differences, but the jist in them all is to study to show MYSELF approved, use MY words wisely, not to cause strife in the worship service by pushing "my own agenda" of musical preferences or of worship style. For me this involves not offending with music I know will likely distract worshippers from the Object of worship. By that I mean music which in repetition of phrases or notes, by difficult note progressions, maybe meter of the music with the words, could possibly foster an irritating or distracting , even critical spirit, rather than one where worshippers desire to move into a closer place of worship within their spirits toward our Heavenly Father. AND YET in all that, there are some wonderful spiritual truths that God has led me to share, in spite of musical "difficulty" or "genre" and HE MOVED AND HE MINISTERED, and brought glory to His name through "hard" or "different" styles of music. God's challenge to me has been to be open to exactly what He wants me to present, or not present. When I sing the words "I'm coming back to the Heart of worship and its all about You its all about You Jesus, I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it" I want to be so sensitive to not limiting our worship by my own thoughts of "Oh they won't like this one!" or "This will be easy." Truly I do not want to be an ashamed worker or one who limits God and what HE wants to do through or to me. Please read 2 Timothy 2: 14-16 and see what new truth or rekindled older truth God might impress upon your heart about the "work" He has given you?
New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

14Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
16But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

The Message (MSG)
14-18Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God's people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they're not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
14Don't let anyone forget these things. And with God as your witness, you must warn them not to argue about words. These arguments don't help anyone. In fact, they ruin everyone who listens to them. 15Do your best to win God's approval as a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message. 16Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God. 17That sort of talk is like a sore that won't heal.

My friend Tami shared today with our prayer group a list of songs she has on her iPod. I have to admit I don't know a lot of them, but I have purposed in my heart to listen to the old and the new music, learn more, share more, listen to in the presence of more worship music from this really cool list along with lots of scripture!!

How He Loves 7:58 John Mark McMillan The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down

God of This City 4:58 Chris Tomlin Hello Love

Jesus Messiah 4:49 Chris Tomlin Hello Love

The More I Seek You 4:14 Gateway Worship Living for You

Knees to the Earth 4:46 Passion Sacred Revolution

Call On Jesus 4:56 Nicole C. Mullen Talk About It

Kindness/Give Us Clean Hands 6:08 Passion Worship Band One Day Live

Captured 6:48 Alberto & Kimberly Rivera Captured

Shine 3:50 Alberto & Kimberly Rivera Captured

I Still Believe 4:35 Jeremy Camp WOW Hits 2004 [Disc 2]

Famous One 4:17 Chris Tomlin WOW Worship [Disc One]

Once Again 3:33 Matt Redman & Tim Hughes WOW Worship [Disc One]

Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?/Delirious? 6:21 Delirious? WOW Worship [Disc 2]

Hosanna 6:17 Hillsong Saviour King [Live]

The Father's Song 4:05 Matt Redman Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs Of Matt Redman

All the Earth 6:17 Passion Sacred Revolution

How Deep The Father's Love For Us 3:54 Joy Williams WOW Worship [Disc One]

Power In The Blood 3:42 Bart Millard Hymned No. 1

I Will Run 5:32 Misty Edwards Always On His Mind

I Am Yours 7:27 Misty Edwards Always On His Mind

All That I Want 5:48 Misty Edwards Eternity

Finally I Surrender 4:06 Misty Edwards Relentless

My Soul Longs for You 5:58 Misty Edwards Relentless

You Won't Relent 4:57 Misty Edwards Relentless

All Consuming Fire 3:23 Misty Edwards Relentless

Waiting for the Rain 3:49 Misty Edwards Unplugged

Give Me Your Eyes 3:53 Brandon Heath What If We

I Will Rise 5:01 Chris Tomlin Hello Love

Waging War 5:20 Cece Winans Thy Kingdom Come

Happy Day 6:42 Kim Walker Your Love Never Fails

Dove's Eyes 2:32 Misty Edwards Relentless

Homeward Bound 3:54 Kristene Mueller Those Who Dream

Your Love Never Fails 7:58 Chris Quilala Your Love Never Fails

Where You Go I Go 7:44 Kim Walker Your Love Never Fails

A Little Longer 4:11 Brian and Jenn Johnson We Believe

In Your Presence 5:06 Jason Upton Beautiful People

Price of Love 4:24 Heather Clark Collect the Years

Healer 5:07 Kari Jobe Kari Jobe

Yours Forever 3:40 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Your Name High 5:22 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Arms Open Wide 6:02 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

You Hold Me Now 8:28 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Soon 5:48 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Tear Down the Walls 10:23 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Oh You Bring 7:03 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Desert Song 4:41 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

King of All Days 6:19 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

More Than Anything 3:54 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

No Reason to Hide 4:43 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Freedom Is Here 5:40 Hillsong United A_CROSS // The_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Perfect People 3:39 Natalie Grant Relentless

More Beautiful You 3:51 Jonny Diaz More Beautiful You

The Words I Would Say 3:19 Sidewalk Prophets These Simple Truths

My Soul Longs for You 7:12 Various Artists Onething Live

Always On His Mind 11:09 Misty Edwards Onething Live

Restoration 10:19 David Brymer Onething Live

City On Our Knees 4:33 tobyMac City On Our Knees - Single

Let Heaven Shout (feat. Kristene Mueller) 4:47 Bethel Live Here Is Love

My Soul Sings (feat. Brian Johnson) 4:29 Bethel Live Here Is Love

I Found a Love (feat. Jenn Johnson) 6:13 Bethel Live Here Is Love

King of Wonders (feat. Chris Quilala) 4:29 Bethel Live Here Is Love

Your Presence (feat. Jenn Johnson) 7:46 Bethel Live Here Is Love

You Make Me Happy (Spontaneous) [feat. Jenn Johnson] 4:42 Bethel Live Here Is Love

What Does It Sound Like (feat. Brian Johnson) 8:44 Bethel Live Here Is Love

Healer (feat. Leah Valenzuela) 5:34 Bethel Live Here Is Love

I Need You More (feat. Kim Walker Smith) 10:00 Bethel Live Here Is Love

Worthy Is the Lamb (feat. Brian Johnson) 5:23 Bethel Live Here Is Love

Here Is Love (feat. Brian Johnson) 8:51 Bethel Live Here Is Love

Sunday, February 7, 2010

From the "Sublime" to the "Ridiculous" ? No I think not...

After the fact update... WOW!! The Saints WON the game! We had such family fun with this event, phone calls and texts back and forth from the Smith Sibs who were not at the house, shouts of "WHO DAT?" were all around. The boys laughed at me for crocheting during THE SUPER BOWL, but I reminded them that I would always remember having fun with the family while I was making Daniel's blanket and later when I use it for him, I'll have a tangible memory of the night as well as a really pretty blue and green blanket keeping Daniel warm!

Ok I am not a huge football fan, and not even usually a Super Bowl fan, but its LOUISIANA: the Saints and their first trip to this big event EVER. The Colts are favored to win, and they may. BUT.It is sure fun seeing our Saints play so hard. I may have lived in central Oklahoma for 10 whole years this week, but Louisiana will always HOME and I am experiencing some real home state team loyalty. Its all in good fun; some of the commercials are truly funny and (since I missed it doing something in the kitchen for my mom) I HEAR that the Tebow spot was really good.........yes, its family night in front of the tv to watch football . YES, I am crocheting Daniel's new blanket too!!! AS we /they say in "Naw'lins" GEAUX SAINTS!!! The opening play of the second half was just pretty football-lovin' awesome....especially if you ARE a Saints' fan!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"One more signature" really means .....

one more signature from the one who gave his "one more signature" originally so that our case could even go to court at all. Despite that obvious fact, and the signature already on the file, our next step to a final court decreed adoption is that the judge's clerk will take a letter to the "one more signature" signing authority, and "one more signature" will in person, in presence of the clerk, sign the letter given to him by the clerk. When THAT is delivered back to the judge , our case may be completed. I am amazed, or maybe dismayed is the correct adjective, that it took all week for this directive to be arrived at: the court had our case all week, but this determination was made late Friday. SO, once again, not the Friday afternoon news we were hoping for, but at the very least, they are paying Daniel's case some attention and we HAVE moved a bit in the forward direction. We continue to pray that God sustain Daniel until he is released to come home, join our eager family, be loved on and begin critical medical treatment for his hydrocephaly. How we praise God that He has sustained Daniel this long!!!
HAD I left for Dulles Airport on Friday it is very likely that I would have been stuck in Houston for an unforeseen amount of time. IF I had gotten as far as Dulles, well, that Saturday night flight bound for Ethiopia is now backed into Sunday morning. My son Joshua who lives in in the middle of this storm center shared some photos from his yard. I'm glad he likes cold weather and was having some fun with the snow. I am very glad that as I look out my windows I only see a lot of birds happily feasting at our bir feeders and a gray day with mostly melted snow from last Saturday's snow storm here in Oklahoma!
Bear in mind that my son is 6' 2" and over 200#. This is a lot of snow!!!! Here are my son and my daughter-in-law soaking up some misguided manifestations of Global Warming. AKA the 2010 "Snowmaggeddon"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Closed doors

On Tuesday I was packing for my trip to Ethiopia with my friend Jill to bring home her lovely new daughter Lilly; everything looked smooth and "mapped out" for our trip. Wednesday, while preparing for my Friday departure , Charlie and I took the better part of our day to travel to Oklahoma City USCIS (Immigration) to renew our international adoption authorization finger prints (which interestingly enough are only "good" for 15 months) Right before we left, I was contacted by my friend Shannon, about a friend of hers who had a plan fall apart unexpectedly and who needed an escort for a child out of Ethiopia: the same week that Jill and I were to be there. WOW!!! Could this be an "Esther " thing.... "for such a time as this?" We talked , we prayed, we went back and forth, I spoke to this lady, Cathy, about her whole situation, and while it was still a bit dicey on the Ethiopia end, and added some complicating elements to our trip, Jill , her husband Scott, my husband and I agreed that the best course of action was to say "YES LORD", being willing to be used of God as His hands and feet in this unplanned situation for Cathy and Helina, rather than to say "No God! That's too far out!" Well ,God asked us to be open and willing and we said "yes Lord." Cathy Fed-Ex'd me the documents I would need to help with Helina's visa appointment, and all the accompanying items. She got plane tickets booked for Helina to return with us, and we began to pray that all this would result in a 7 year old little girl being granted her visa to the USA and to her waiting family who would fly in to Dulles to meet us the next weekend. All was coming together bit by bit as Jill and I grew more and more excited over our getting to make this wonderful journey together. THEN CAME THE STORM WARNINGS for the East coast of the USA...warnings that up to 24 inches of snow could be burying many airports and grounding many planes, changing many people's plans, and ours were rapidly being affected as well. Memories of another planned trip to Africa flooded my mind......... Three years ago I had made plans to go to Ghana, and God made it crystal clear to me that while it was a good plan, it was NOT His plan. Naomi who had not even been sick at all, spiked high fevers, got lethargic and weak: she had a collapsed lung and pneumonia!!! Plans were canceled for Ghana with no question that this was a CLOSED DOOR for this trip!!
Fast forward to Wednesday night and the beginnings of flight changes for me to get to Dulles before flights out here in the west were scrapped. Thursday morning we began to look at flight options which were already very limited. MUCH PRAYER, much back and forth communications: email and telephone, more prayer, much looking at weather maps, more prayer, fewer options and actually only one option: an impossible one for me to make happen. We sadly see that this door , like my Ghana trip door, is clearly closing. the verse of scripture where David talks about God numbering his tears , keeping his tears in a bottle was very precious and poignant to me for Jill and me because I KNOW we filled a lot of bottles.I am still filling some bottles. Sometimes we wonder if God has shown us "clearly enough" that we've made a right decision. Sometimes God speaks SO clearly that there is no mistaking His voice. This trip, planned for over eight months resulted in one of those clear answers. I don't know why we got to plan for all those months, and anticipate the event, I know I would not undo a moment of the time spent planning and anticipating. Our friendship grew sweeter and dearer with each day that passed. I am missing Jill already; she is swamped with the last minute plans of the trip she is taking, and I know we won't get to chat much before she actually leaves to go and bring her sweet daughter Lilly home. I know I won't stop praying for her. AND HELINA?? God shut some doors there too with her paperwork. Cathy and I are counting this short time of getting acquainted as a blessing however...we have much in common but might not have been introduced if not for her Ethiopia needs. We were not able to be the hands and feet we thought we'd be for Cathy and Helina, but a new friendship was launched and I do praise God for that!!! There are new plans being worked for Helina even now and trustfully she will be here soon.

In the midst of all the closing doors for Ethiopia, we also received word that we are ONE SIGNATURE AWAY from Daniel's adoption decree and our paperwork heading to the Embassy for his visa appointment! Perhaps before the end of today we may have an adoption decree!??

I do see that God needed me home for some very urgent pre-teen grandson business, and for that I am also thankful. God's timing is so perfect and while I didn't know a new storm was brewing, a storm which would need me to be here at home, GOD KNEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I am home for now, and much needed. I won't need to go grocery shop for two weeks ; I bought and planned for every possible thing for my absence, the bills are paid ahead, today was a good school day after I Fed Ex'd all the documents back to Cathy, Got grandson situated and assigned him a good home school day of work. It will be a basketball game later this afternoon. Between now and then I think my girls and granddaughter Mady will bake some peanut butter cookies.
This song "In the Hands of God" has been on my mind all week long as I hve navigated through the "rough waters" and the "smooth waters" and my song of praise is in this song God YOU'RE AMAZING!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Looking for Valentine's gifts for your girlie sweeties?

If you like the look of these charming bracelets, please visit and see how you can order some AND help bring a girl named Isabella home to her forever family..I found this link on my friend AMY's blog . Amy has a wonderful family and her heart for orphans, especially special needs children and Down Syndrome children always blesses me. There is a photo on my fridge of a little girl named Ginger. I "met " Ginger because I went to a website called REECE'S RAINBOW where God had shown AMY her next two children. As I went looking through photo after precious photo, a little red headed girl in Ukraine jumped out at me. This little girl got into my heart and under my skin like no child had for a long while. I began to pray over her and I called to inquire about her, and what all would/could be involved in her adoption. I knew very little about Ukraine adoptions at all!! I very soon sensed God telling me that she was not ours, but that I should pray for her family to find her quickly. GOD IS SO FAITHFUL!! She has been home for quite a while now with her forever family! I keep Ginger's photo on my fridge as a reminder. She's not the only Answered Prayer -child on my fridge by any stretch. BUT she reminds me to pray for Reece's Rainbow and the children they so passionately represent and advocate for. Maybe that was chasing a rabbit just a bit, but back to Valentine's Day and bracelets which will help another family to bring home their daughter. I found that because of Amy too!! THANKS AMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK now I am going shopping!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

No word today.................................

SO, maybe it will be tomrrow. I need to be able to focus on my "regular stuff" like home schooling 6 children, caring for Grand Baby Charlie, and the farm AND I need to focus on packing and preparing all the details for my trip to Ethiopia on Friday!!! I have a mental list of everything I need to pack, I have mental lists of what I want to see carried out / not neglected while I am gone...........but need this mental inventory put in hard copy! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Friday I will fly out to meet my friend Jill and Saturday we will leave together for Ethiopia to pick up her new daughter Lilly. Just a few minor details aside from our own adoption , right?????? SO much exciting activity, especially when I consider that TRUSTFULLY, HOPEFULLY , PRAYERFULLY I will be turning around to go back to Africa for Daniel as soon as a week later. (Charlie and I would really like for it to all unfold that way anyhow...Lord,we know its up to You!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JILL on the 6th and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME on the 19th!!! Thanks , Y'all. for your support and prayers with us today. NOT hearing does not mean absolutely that we didn't get to court, it could be that there was no internet to communicate what happened. So we wait another day. We've gotten quite good at waiting! Sometimes "we walk by faith and not by sight". SOMETIMES we WAIT by faith and not by now!

From Building the Blocks,THE EXCUSE: an anointed exortation

My online prayer group friend Amy has written a post on her blog today which is SO after my own heart. It closely echoes things that many/any of you who know me know that I have said along the way. She just put it all together so perfectly! I invite you to go and read what she has to say. Be bless


Today may be THE day....................

and WOW am I distracted! Daniel's case should be through court by now, if it actually got on the docket for today. Waiting with baited breath, praying for power and love and a sound mind, I've already cast out all the fears!!