Monday, May 31, 2010

From Daniel's mamma:Day 1

I held Daniel for the irst time as his mamma and he my son at about 9 this morning! He was sleeping in his car seat when I stroked his hair and his cheek for the first time in over a year, when I kissed his face and his fingers and said " I love you little son". He awoke as I was changing his diaper and his clothes for our visa medical appointment, and seemed to not be wigged out that "a stranger" was messing with him. Melodie had been assuring me that he was VERY EXCITED that I was coming, and she'd wink and say "well maybe I exaggerated just a bit  but the nannies and the other children are excited for him". YES YES YES my baby boy wore his  "LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN"  outfit with his new red, white and blue sandals and he was adorable! He smiled at me  a lot as I spoke to him and stroked him; he is ticklish and responds sweetly to gentle tummy tickles and "typing finger" touches to his back. He is about Grand Baby Charlie's size, but where Charlie is a strong healthy active baby  who wants to  stand and walk and lift his own weight far too early for THIS Grammy's liking, Daniel is soft with not much muscle tone. There is  a world of difference in carrying a 20# baby  who supports his own head and hold on to whomever is carrying him and a 20# baby who can't support anything. I carried him around town in an infant carrier seat, and when he got a bit too heavy or when I looked like I was having a hard time, Kim (the other mom who is here adopting her long-ago decreed son Moses, ) . would take one side of the handle and share the carrying with me Truly many hands make light the work! . Our visit to the medical cllinic only took two hours and considering that the doctor ordered an x-ray of Daniel's head, this was AMAZZZZZZING!! The doctor asked me many questions about our plans for care for Daniel when we got him home and I was happy to tell him that we had already  lined up a neurologist and neurosurgeon for WHEN HE GOT HOME, and explained to him plans for MRI, CT sscans and shunt surgery. He seemed quite satisfied with that and assured us that the report would be at the embassy for our visa  interview tomorrow morning.PRAISE GOD!!!
Melodie our agency director is so super  at getting to the right people  and gettng things done and she shome today in my opinion! She grew up in Liberia so she speaks with the low toned consanant dropping dialect of the Liberians and they love it. The older men who worked int he x-ray clinic were joking with her about things Liberian and it was so fun. I'm sure when people see this young blonde "girl"  (she's a newlywed) they expect a "kid" and she is totally a confident Liberian woman and they respond to her very positively.
Ok so after the clinic experience..lots of people staring at the older white lady with the big headed baby, most trying not to let me see the stares and some just puttin' it all out there in the very crowded waiting areas, squeezing through long crowded halls, trying not to jostle Daniel too much or bang into people with the infant seat, we heaeded out to go eat lunch at Diana  restaurant: Mediterranean food. If you know me in person you know I LOVE middle eastern dishes so this was a yummy treat. Not enough bulgar in the tabouli but yummy nonetheless! I am so praising God for glucosamine and His Hand  on my hip! The plane trip from Chicago to Belgium was so crowded that I was truly in a  lot of pain, more than I have had in weeks. Aswe walked the uneven streets of Monrovia, I was a bit stiff, but by the end of the day I felt GREAT! I don't know if I needed a really hard walk with extra weight to carry to be therapy or  what but it worked!! No limp today and no pain tonight!
Getting into our vehicle drew a small crowd of young men and a few girls too, looking at Daniel. I thought "Phoey! Some of these people think that my baby is cursed, I will tell them what they are looking  at. " So I did, telling the growing crowd that he had too much fluid in his head and in America he would have an operation to put in a tube to take away the water and make his head get smaller.they started to tell it amongst themselves and a bigger crowd grew! They kept  asking "He will have an operation to fix his head?" and as we drove away they were saying good luck to Daniel and blocking traffic. I told my baby he was the most famous person in Monrovia today! I hope that what little I got to say will help even one of those young people to break away from the repeated ignorant teachings about something medically wrong being a curse, because Daniel was out in the streets of Monrovia today. Who knows!
We went grocery shopping after that and people were very  kind to us as we navigated his car seat and groceries . The clerk laughed when I thanked Daniel for helping me keep the items from falling off the edge of the cart.
Feeding Daniel was not so good, and my appreciation for his sweet nannies (whose gifts were left in the States in my haste to not forget all the items I was bringing for others) who know just what spot in the back of his throat to get the food to so he can passively swallow before his salivary glands add tablespoons of liquid to every bite and the food slides right back out of his mouth onto  waiting bib.  I do not yet have this skill but Daniel was very patient with me!
We had several hours back at our guesthouse to spend together before he had to go back to the orphange: hopefully for the last time  of his life! We played and talked. Since he can not see, I would make sure I spoke as I was coming close to him and before  I touched him. Melodie commented that he was really respondingwell to me, and not doing his "Strangers are touching me" cry. He didn't really  cry at all excpet when we had to put hm on the hard x-ray table, and he didn't cry much even at that. Too soon the driver came for he and Moses to take them back.  So we don't need to re-dress him in the morning for our visa interview, I sent his plaid button down shirt and matching shorts, shoes and socks for Mary to dress him in. I wanted her to see that Iwas doing right  by "her baby". (She had no short list of instructions for me  concerniing Daniel's care, I have to tell you! She loves him deeply!)
Tonight was dinner  upstairs with our host family in this guest house. I love  chili and corn bread so dinner was a welcome favorite meal. Add fresh pineapple and you've got a great dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kim and I poured over our all-important documents for the visa interviews tomorrow. So many pages of explanations (some of which are pretty '"legal-ese") and so many forms to fill out which look just like so many other forms already filled out, but each critical to their part in the visa process. HOW I YEARN for the day thatour adopred children are acknowledged  AS our children and not as our ADOPTED IMMIGRANTS. ALL of this process is actually not  "legal" in the truest sense. Adopted  children ARE a family's children. Adoption makes them a member of a family, but the government has far too-long been able to relegate them to immigrant status, like people  coming to the US as foreigners to become citizens. There is legislation in Congress slated for vote later this year I believe, which will do away with this whole immigrant visa step, and rightfully so. Adopted children should be granted citizenship automatically. Children born to illegals in this country are given citizenhip , but children adopted legally by legal citizens are not: they have to apply for and be granted a visa. I think I will use the words of Forest Gump here:"and that's all I have to say about that."    Kim and I got  all our docs in order, both of us had to call our husbands at home to ask for a this or a that, had to trade a copy of this form for a copy of that form, compare notes on line 28, block3 or whatever, but WE ARE READY!
If it does not rain tomorrow perhaps we will celebraate visa day with a trip to the ocean for a swim and some beach frolicking! Not sure that Daniel will like that, but we can give it a try.
I have several other errands to do an friends to see, and packages to deliver as well!
IF I could find my picture card reader I would post some photos. I ahve a sneaking suspicion it got left at our hotel in OKC on Saturday morning.
Goodnight from Liberia, where Smithsoups' newest ingredient is about to be officially added to the mix!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Good morning from the Belgium Airport internet cafe. After I bought a nifty little adaptor forthe electric outlet I was online and recharging my battery. my flight for monrovia leaves in about 3 hours so when i finish posting I have time for a short, albeit,  horizontal nap. I do not sleep in planes and the one here from Chicago was super crowed, (really nice seat mates, good conversation, but he was a big guy, she was very pregnant and i was in the middle) and WOW  was it cold! We got all of mine and Daniel's things in part of one big bag, the rest of that big  bag and the army duffle are full of donations. My carry on bag is heavy with donations too, but we kept  the bags under 50# each! Coming home will be so easy: I will have less than half the weight I have now, so even if Daniel is squirrely or not happy with beign carried around I won't have my arms full with "too much stuff".
Thank yo for your ongoing prayers for me s I travle, for my family at home, for Malachi who leaves tomorrow and for Daniel whose whole little world is about to feel like a game of "52 pick up". I'm really praying for him to sense quickly that he can trust me and that he isn't uber stressed over traveling. God has been prparing him for this very week and I am very much at peace with that.
Off to take a nap for a little while!
Next stop: LIBERIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This was a full day!

Every day starts with farm chores,  Grand Baby Charlie arriving, and school happening. Today was also home study physical day for Charlie the Patriarch, and the 7 at home kiddos, AND the  CHILI'S fund raiser.
Added to  making and cutting fliers all day long was an unexpected trip to the orthotics shop to have custom arch support inserts casted for Isaac. What a fascinating 1 1/2 hours that was! I had no idea how all that kind of technology worked. I knew that it must, but I had never seen foot scans and all of that diagnostic equipment in use before. Hopefully this will help Isaac 's right ankle to be better supported when he is out on the tennis court lopping shots or the basketball court sneaking in and stealing a ball to sink a quick shot. He's been in increasing pain and our (previous) doctor assessed flat feet and simply said "quit wearing flip flops". The real problem is that his ankle rolls inward as he walks and causes a lot of torsion on the tendons which support his foot.    MUCH BETTER ASSESSMENT and diagnosis today. Plus everyone in the shop was so interested in our fund raiser that they asked for fliers and came right over to Chili's  when the shop closed!
Lots more paperwork done here today too. Malachi and I WILL be ready for our departures this weekend, I promise!
A bit of not -so-good news today was that when Daniel's birth certificate was printed up, my name was inserted backward and incorrectly . This was the only error the consulate found in Daniel's whole packet, which was GOOD NEWS, but we have to get the birth certificate redone and GUESSWHAT? You GUESSED IT! The passport man is out till the end of the week or Monday. TRUSTFULLY he will get the mistake corrected (why this was not caught in a review  for the couple weeks that the birth certificate was in existence, I have no clue) But what is not done  is  simply  not done.
From the updates I got today about Daniel and the report Hannah brought from the doctor on Grand Baby Charlie's check-up , 2 1/4  year old Daniel and 8 month old Charlie are almost identical in size. Charlie at 29 1/2 inches  is  taller than Daniel by 1 1/2 inches! Don't know for how long, but they will be able to share clothing.  Both wear  12-24 month size clothing, each quite comfortable in 18 months most of the time.

WOW. From what the hostess told me they had a  great sales day all day. It was steady when I stopped in to replenish fliers at 1:30 and still  steady when Charlie and I went in at 7. We saw lots of friends and friends of friends who all stopped over at our table to say hi and offer congratulations. Our friend Ron (who by the way helped with making the flier into a pdf  for me to share more easily) got the OK from management to  hand out fliers and talk to people as they entered the restaurant! He stood out there for about 4 hours!!!! It was quite warm today and several folks asked him why he'd stand out there in the heat all that time. He gladly told them about Daniel. One woman sharply told him there were plenty of babies to adopt in the USA, but when he responded that THEY can get health care, she stopped in her tracks , said "OH!!" and took a flier! Ron by the way lost his leg to a severe fall several years ago and has a state- of- the- art titanium leg which he decorates in very colorful ways to dress up a pair of khaki shorts in his own unique way. It was pretty cool to have Ron out side Chili's advocating for Daniel!
I won't know the total donation till sometime tomorrow but I suspect it was generous! We are rejoicing  in the support of our community!!To those of you who donated via the DONATE button here,  thank YOU so very much too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I won't leave the button up past tomorrow I don't think.
We replaced the power cord on my mini laptop computer tonight  (Hannah's mini Schauzer chewed up the original) so I am guaranteed computer access while I'm in Liberia. Was not sure that was the whole problem but it seems to be. Little whew!!
Tomorrow: start over, pick up letters from kids' doctor for home study, plug in some financial numbers on the app, fill in addresses of references,  MAIL IT ALL OFF to our SW, make a big pot of barley soup for next week while I'm  gone, START PACKING, and organize documents. Folks have sent things for me to bring over, and I have a few things to pick up for our missionry friends but there is not much more to gather/buy, its just  time to assemble .
Malarone tab #2 tonight so three more days until I LEAVE FOR DANIEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHILI'S , and The Button

The CHILI's Give  Back is in full swing. Lots of fliers all over town and in many folks' email in boxes  and FB messages along as  a pdf,   thanks to a super friend who is also going to be handing out fliers at CHILI'S  for us later tonight! Michelle Riggs suggested I put up a Button for the out of town folks who wanted to help with CHILI'S but couldn't, so I did that a little while ago. I have already seen some donations come in
HOW BLESSED WE ARE to have friends like ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How blessed Daniel is to come home to our BLESSED LIFE!!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leaving Saturday!

What a whirlwind week this has been!!  Malachi leaves on Sunday for Cambodia and I have been helping him organize paperwork for his fiance  visa, now i'm making sure our paperwork is all organized and in order too, AND our 171 H is on the verge of expiring  and that is a whole lot of paperwork too... A  LOT of paperwork:  home study update, doctor visits for everyone, back ground checks to send off, home study details to be interviewed about because the "freebie" 171h  update the government now generously offers requires that everything you need for a NEW 171 H  be re-done. I simply didn't know. I asked about what we neededto do to renew the 171 H when its related finger prints expired and we  re-did them in February. I truly thought I just  needed to request an extension; I sent USICS  a letter explaining that...weeks and weeks ago. Mid week last week USCIS  called me to say they guessed I didn't understand that I had to re-do everything. OYE! With less than a month till expiration???!!! Determined that this not be "Mission: Impossible" I scrambled into action and in 2 days had the required forms in the mail and the 8 doctor appointments lined out. I did mine yesterday and got my Malarone  meds and my bronchitis  meds too!!
Charlie and kids all get physicals tomorrow.  A bazillion copies of tax forms for Malachi , for me, for the home study app and we will be good to GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so thankful for God's provision over Daniel! His passport interview is Thursday, our Visa appointment is Tuesday JUNE 1!!  The consulate and I have been in communicaiton over Daniel for a very long time and his wonderful response to my email over the weekend just sent me into more choruses of praise...Like  all the verses  of  DESERT SONG!!!(The desert,  the fire, the battle, the harvest. I will bring praise...I will rejoice God is my victory and He is here!!)  When he asked if we could do our appointment that quickly and asked that our in country agent bring all of Daniel's papers to him ASAP so he could get started., I was thrilled!! He didn't need the passport to start the visa investigation!!!   
It is my prayer that  I do not need to be in Liberia for the whole two weeks that I booked for. We are all eager to have Daniel home to start bonding and attaching to all of us and to get his medical care started! As long  as the passport is completed by our interview date for Tuesday, there is no reason for me to have to stay any longer than the weekend. I very well may be landing back home before June 7!
Why scramble to get that home study and 171H  updated?  The expiration date is SO close to Daniel's visa appointment that should ANYTHING  go amok, we will need that new documentation. IF we don't need it for Daniel....................well.................wink wink...................I was looking at my passport and thought that my Ghanaian visa expired this year, but NO! It expires next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So CHILI's  fund raiser tomorrow, lots of fliers are out and about Stillwater, and we  are praying for a great turnout. A mistake on Daniel's plane ticket caused me a totally unplanned expsense. NOT my "fault"  but my responsibility, one more of those "one more things" that seem to pop up with consistent regularity...
Still to do?
Haircut,  nails, girl's haircuts
pay all bills for the next three weeks...just in case...
wash clothes and start to pack
buy diapers etc  for MY BABY
grocery shop for my at home family
MAYBE check with friends for a suitcase since Malachi and I are traveling at the same time???!!!
So all that said, what does my day look like today?
Babysit Charlie, farm chores, hoem schooling,  take Jael for college algebra  CLEP test (she passed easily!) and back to school,
pick up Gideon and take him to hospital for x-rays :  turns out  he broke his foot playing volley ball yesterday, bring him out here to hang out and rest his swollen foot. Grandson Blake due here any minute, tennis at 6, family dinner at 7:30, mail gift to great nephew Tennyson (isn't that a cool name? Tennyson Daniel?!!!) and letter to MIL. Work on more paperwork while wathcing tennis.
PLUG HERE FOR A PRODUCT. I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip, andscar tissue from a farm injury almost three years ago. Chiropratic didn't help any more  Motrin and Aleve were not  helping. It was suggested that I take Glucosamine and MSM.  I  found a liquid formula andstarted taking it three weeks ago. THIS STUFF WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not limping all the time,  some days not at all, I am not in constant hip pain, I am sleeping better;  several days I realized , oh maybe about  lunch time  or so that I had NO PAIN AT ALL!!!!!!! My hip has been in increasing levels of pain for several months, like about  a 7 or 8  on that 1-10 scale the hospital staff ask about when one is a patient, and MY personal 1-10 is probably more like soembody else's 10-20, but life goes on. I am so thankful to have found  Wellesse Glucosamine MSM  Liquid! JUST IN TIME  for Daniel to come home!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Praising God for this YES answer to months and months of prayer ! This morning the judge signed our decree ( and also the decree of a little 7 year old boy who has Cerebral Palsy and whose name is Teddy) and we are now making travel plans for me to go bring our precious baby HOME!!
SO that means that                         THIS  baby

will soon be able to wear  THIS  outfit

and be snuggled in THIS  blanket, crocheted by Mommy  with love and anticipation in every stitch
and for THIS  Mommy and Daddy to love him forever as DANIEL ELIJAH SMITH, "Secret"  no more!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sharing my blog to share a tender prayer request with you

Please hold the Patterson family in your prayers today? If you've followed Lorrain's blog you know that her family  adotped a precious but  very fragile little girl named Chrissie, who went home to be with Jesus today, after an incredible and valiant fight within her human body. Lorrains' testimony through the entire Chrissie story has been amazing. You can read more by clicking on  the green title words. The most recent posts are shared with you here.

All are Precious in His Sight

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dancing with Jesus

Chrissie has gone home to be with Jesus. Her heart has been healed and now she spins and she sways to the Cinderella song with Jesus as her dance partner.

This message is sent to you via the blessing of Lorraine's cell phone. :-)

Posted by Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed at 5:33 AM 51 comments Links to this post

Still doing compressions

It's been an hour or more...
This message is sent to you via the blessing of Lorraine's cell phone. :-)

Posted by Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed at 4:26 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Compressions restarted

This message is sent to you via the blessing of Lorraine's cell phone. :-)

Posted by Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed at 4:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Not looking good

Pyulse and heart is back but many signs not looking good. Doctor is worried. Please pray...

This message is sent to you via the blessing of Lorraine's cell phone. :-)

Posted by Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed at 3:42 AM 0 comments Links to this post

She's coded

Chest compressions

This message is sent to you via the blessing of Lorraine's cell phone. :-)

Posted by Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed at 3:24 AM 0 comments Links to this post


Pray...lungs are bleeding lots.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bringing Daniel Home by way of CHILI's Restaurant

Despite my computer trying its very hardest, which is also its absolute very slowest, to accomplish anything, I have managed to make a flier for our fund raiser, and to send it out to a few people. I will be sending out emails and snail mails all through the week and I have this as an EVENT on my Face Book page as well. After our fund raiser event, CHILI'S will be sending a check for Daniel's adoption travel expenses to The Shepherd's Crook. They will in turn send whatever funds were raised to help us complete Daniel's adoption and get him home!
Daniel was a Shepherd's Crook child when we first heard about him. For those of you who are not familiar with them, I explained a bit more in detail a few posts  back.
A number of people have donated to Daniel's Shepherd's Crook account over the past 18 months. He had an account set up long before we knew anything about him or asked to be formally matched with him. God used that fund to show us that even when we had NO  FUNDS to start another adoption, He had already gotten us started! We thought that we had 100% of Daniel's adoption costs covered and if he had been cleared to come home before he turned 2 years old , we would have. That second birthday came with it the FFA requirement that we buy him a seat on the planes when we bring him home. WHAT AN ANSWER TO PRAYER this CHILI'S fund raiser is! I specifically prayed for new and creative ways to raise the remainder of what we would need to  get Daniel home and be debt free to start his medical care and surgeries! Would you remember us next Wednesday as we hand out fliers and remind people that CHILI'S is a great place to eat AND that they are helping us?
Several people asked me if this was strictly our local CHILI'S or if they could take our flier to any CHILI'S anywhere. The answer is that this fund raiser is through our local CHILI'S only. We thank you so much for your continued prayers for Daniel since we first started talking about him, and we covet your prayers as we begin the plans to finally bring him home!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Let the Journey Begin" says Thomas the Train

I found this outfit for Daniel this afternoon. After the update about Daniel's case today and the wonderful photos of our sweet baby, this seemed to perfect to pass up, or pass by. I may have to split the back of the neck and then stitch up a "Facing" of sorts in the neck slit, but it will be one of the first things that Daniels wears when I HAVE HIM !! Indeed Lord,  "Let our Journey BEGIN!""

Daniel, Daniel and MORE DANIEL!!

OK, what I thought I was going to share about is back seat to what happened "next".
We received a letter from our agency case worker Melodie  in Liberia today filled with GOOD NEWS about our case! Our decree is very near to being done, written, signed, sealed and delivered! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We have discussed making travel plans for the first time in a very long time! Andthe PHOTOS! OH our sweet baby looks so good!!! One friend said "his eyes are captivating"  and she is right...for a baby who used to look very "Sunset sign", very nearrly blind and not very  "checked-in"  this observation  is HUGE! (and correct!)  See for yourselves.

His nanny was changing him and singing to him when Daniel burst out laughing and making sounds.
What answers to prayer are apparent in these newest photos!

Yesterday was a Daniel news  day too, but in a different sort of way. Our local CHILI'S  Restaurant does what they  call "Give Back Days"  when they arrange with a non -profit fund raiser to donate 10% of all sales for a given day  to that  fund raiser.  Gideon told his manager about our adoption and we were told to come in and talk to him yesterday. The manager, Kevin, was SO supportive and helpful! We are having a fund raiser on May 26 (Wednesday)  for Daniel's final adoption expenses:his plane ticket costs! I will be making up a flier to send out, hand out, share around  telling people about Daniel's adoption, his needs and our plans to bring him home. Anyone who comes to CHILI'S  on "our night" with a flier will be donating 10% of their food sales to our  adoption fund through The Shepherd's Crook, the non-profit organization which has a fund for us already and through which we have raised almost all of Daniel's other expenses! We are praying for a great turn out  that night so that when Daniel does getto come home, we will be nearly debt free and  with adoption reimbursement funds from Charlie's job  can repay ABBA FUND and PATHWAYS FOR LITTLE FEET  for the loans they blessed us with last year. We are repaying nwow at a small monthly rate, but want to be completely paid up  when we start the surgeries and doctor visits related to Daniel's hydrocephaly.
REJOICING and dancing  a WILD DANCE in thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mother's Day pizza came with ..... a TILLER

...and  I was so pleased! I needed  a small tiller to keep the veggie garden, corn patch, and front flower beds under control. NO EARRINGS this year, I got a tiller!!! We are upgrading our pool, my other request so I also received a large Rubbermaid storage box full of  new pool goodies: a nice chunky towel for me, floaties for kiddos, a nice loungy floatie...for me.............a small floatie for Baby Charlie.diving rings and sticks for the bigger kiddos.............and Mazzios did dinner so I didn't have to prepare a meal or do dishes while I contemplated  my wondeful family and their great gifts! Then (all politics aside) I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Phoenix Suns shut  out the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA  West playoff series. Love my basketball!!! Much more than that superficial little bit of pleasure however, is the joy and challenge I get from praying over and putting together the music for our Sunday worship services. I love how God leads me through web sites and hymn books, sheet music and chord layouts until He shows me exactly what  and how HE wants that worship music arranged.
One of the songs God led me to for Sunday's worship music  has a more familiar tune (Be Still My Soul)
 but its called                          "A Christian Home"   and the lyrics are WONDERFUL!! I don't have a Youtube or an audio of any kind, so you'll jsut have to read, and if you know the tune  sing to yourself. You'll be blessed and challenged. I promise!

Verse 1

O give us homes built firm upon the Savior

Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide

Where ev'ry child is taught His love and favor

And gives his heart to Christ the Crucified

How sweet to know that though his footsteps waver

His faithful Lord is walking by his side

Verse 2

O give us homes with Godly fathers mothers

Who always place their hope and trust in Him

Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers

Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim

A home where each finds joy in serving others

And love still shines tho' days be dark and grim

Verse 3

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master

The Bible read the precious hymns still sung

Where pray'r comes first in peace or in disaster

And praise is natural speech to ev'ry tongue

Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster

And Christ sufficient is for old and Young

Verse 4

O Lord our God our homes are Thine forever

We trust to Thee their problems toil and care

Their bonds of love no enemy can sever

If Thou art always Lord and Master there

Be Thou the center of our least endeavor

Be Thou our guest our hearts and homes to share

It might not go well with lights, guitars and a big worship band , but it sounded pretty awesome with gentle drums, a djembe drum and a keyboard with my vocals.because it was from God and FOR GOD!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

From my heart, from my window, from my Face Book page....and PM update

Its always fun to have company from out of town and my aunt and uncle from Georgia are probably about my favorite company to have (hard call.I DO have lots of favorites, but  like when my kids ask me "Who is your favorite kid?" my answer is unique for each child."YOU are my favorite 13 year old this year." "You are my favorite 8 year  old girl this year." "YOU are my favorite green eyed teen aged daughter"  "YOU are my favorite tallest son, ") SO when I knew my aunt and uncle were coming to visit, actually coming to visit my mom, who is my aunt's only sibling, I was hoping we'd have time for a family gathering with  as many of us as possible. PRETTY GOOD SCORE. Hannah  had gotten  together with them Tuesday night for Braum's ice cream since she was seeing Jon yesterday,  Esther and Gideon had to work but Malachi was home,  Jael didn't have work last night, Charlie was home, no basketball or tennis practices were already on tap for the other kiddos,   The WHOLE HOME TEAM was  H O M E ! Add two friends because that's how we roll,  my mom, aunt and uncle...and that turkey dinner, complete with mashed potatoes and rice (of course)  gravy, corn bread dressing, fresh cranberries, corn and (store bought YUMMY )  Razzleberry pie was a wonderful family reunion dinner. Add the balmy breezes blowing through the patio door with no bugs blowing in,  even  the extra busyness of driving 80+ miles earlier in the afternoon getting Mady for Hannah and being late to pick Jael up from school, just dissipated into the comfort of family fellowship.............................
With my mom being in her mid 80's, my aunt and uncle in their 70's and that 1100 mile distance between Toccoa, Georgia and here, we never know if  or when we will see each other again. I know it is such a high point for my mom to have her only sib and brother -in-law  able to come for a visit any time its possible. Its special for me too, since these were really the only relatives I  really knew growing up as well. (SECRET: my Uncle David at some point in my youngest part of  life nicknamed  me "Linda Gink"   I  have no idea where that came from, and it was only his special name for me. He still to this day calls me "Linda Gink". ) I only really know two of my uncles, and they are favorites for unique reasons of their own, but Uncle David is my favorite uncle from Georgia who gave me a life-long silly nickname!
Right before dinner when Hannah came to get Charlie and Mady, we'd put Charlie on the floor to crawl. Little Super Man  headed around the sofa and onto the stairs! He had never seen these stairs before. There is only one stair in his life at Hannah and Jon's house, but he somehow at 7 1/2 months of precocious age knew how to climb the entire stair case, pass through the landing and complete the second set of stairs to complete his journey in Daniel's room (where Charlie  takes his naps too) Hannah grabbed her phone so we could video this Big First, Naomi stayed behind him as he scaled the 16 steps up to the landing, and I went ahead to seethe proud smiles of accomplishment on his face. He KNEW he had done something COOL (albeit for the last time: the gate goes up tomorrow morning when he comes back) and it is all on video!I promised Hannah that if Charlie did anything "first" with me, I would not tell her about it so his "firsts" would be "first " for her, but this was a first we both got to share together with him!!He spends a lot of time with us while she is working  so I am glad that so far most of his "firsts" have happened with her and Jon anyhow.
Goats. I love my goats, I do. I  started letting  the baby herd out of the "nursery pen" to graze in the back yard and to give them more space to romp and exercise. Yesterday they discovered the garden: specifically  the tomatoes which I had strategically planted right up to the fence line so that I could stake and tie them off onto the fence. WELL, I did not give fore thought to goats sticking their nosey noses through the fencing to nibble every tender leaf and newly blossomed yellow "promise-of-a-tomato" flower on all 8 of my plants.
BOO HISS. I can chicken wire inside the garden chain link fencing to keep the nosey noses out in the future, but, yah, I have to start over with tomato plants. Glad that's all they were able to get, but it was ...........enough.
As the tulips fade into spring 2010 history, the roses are blooming beautifully! I awoke to several gorgeous, deep red,  Mr Lincoln blooms this morning, several  orangey Tropicana blooms and my Joseph's Coat a lovely splash of yellow, pink and pale orange blooms.  The pink tea roses, which were a gift from our then -pastor's wife to welcome Naomi ThiRose home from Vietnam 8 years ago continue to faithfully delight me with hundreds of flowers at a time all spring and summer long.. This year is no exception.  Farther over in the front gardens, my Twilight Girl has two striking pale lavender blooms where she stands next to  a large white peony bush which is covered with dozens of heavy  white flowers. The bush is so heavy laden with flowers that the stems are  bent over , causing the blooms to "kiss the ground" around the bush.  For the 5th or 6th year in a row, my deep purple clematis  with its hundreds of bigger-than-palm-sized blossoms has sent its vines and increasing number of blooms meandering  up its trellsis and has spilled all over the far end of the rose garden.  All this I can see from my "computer corner" as I work. Pretty blessed spot to have put my computer desk, wouldn't you say?!I  can see the front  bird feeders from here too, so the cardinals, finches, blue jays,orioles and other winged visitors  who stop by add their beauty and personality to my wonderful view! How I love God's imagination and  creativity in all that I see around me. Truly "Indescribable, Uncontainable"!
It is National Day of Prayer today and we had hoped to be participants in our city event. Naomi's gastro-enterologist's appointment has to take priority. Four or five times a year we see the Doctor to assess the status and progress, or lack thereof, with Naomi's Hep B. She has been complaining of symptoms which she has never mentioned before so I am suspecting that her viral load counts are even higher than they have been, and that perhaps some live involvement is taking place. So far  she has been totally healthy despite a crazy high viral DNA count, crazy high . Her  body an her immune system have not responded to the prescribed meds and the virus has continued to mutate and increase in number. She is in God's hands and always has been. The outcome of today's lab values won't change that in the slightest even if the course of treatment is changed. I am so thankful that she is here, in our family, where we can get excellent medical care for her and most of all where we can pray for her  as we seek treatment and know that others are aware of her and are praying for her with us. Thank you!!
***** NAOMI UPDATE after the doctor visit:
Because she has gaiend several inches in height and 4 pounds of weight  her doc thinks that perhaps her meds are not as effective right now as they could be so rather than order lab work today, he bumped her doseage of anti-viral meds up a bit. We are  going to schedule the ultrasound of Naomi's liver and raw her blood work in about 6 weeks. He is a bit concerned about the stomach aches and tiredness but we will assess that in 6 weeks too. She may need some meds for her stomach to counter act what the anti-viral may be doing to her stomach . Her liver  and spleen are normal sized which is a good sign and she has no evidence of jaundice whatsoever.  For these absent symptoms I am very grateful!!!********

As I think about this particular National Day of Prayer, I want to share a prayer from one of my favorite (there's that category again!)  pastors who write and  share in cyber space. From Scotty Smith


"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10

Dear heavenly Father, on this “national day of prayer” in our country, several important things are milling around in my heart. First of all, I praise you for heavenly citizenship—the magnificent and merciful realm from which I so eagerly await the return of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He already has everything under control and he will, ultimately, transform all things—including my body, to be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21). What comfort and what joy that good news brings…

Secondly, as broken as our country is, I’m still so very thankful to be an American citizen. I praise you for the many freedoms we still enjoy and the multiplied privileges that go with being a citizen of this nation. I bring our sitting president before the occupied throne of heaven, and ask you to be at work in his heart and through his hands. As with all “kings,” you set them up and you sit them down at your discretion. So I trust you for the accomplishment of your sovereign purposes through our president, in keeping with the eternal wisdom of your heart. I don’t look for a lasting city in our country, but for the City whose builder and maker is God… that would be you!

That brings me, to the last, largest and most glorious thing milling around in my heart this morning. Father, I choose to fill my faith-gaze with John’s vision of the “every nation day of prayer”—the Day when men and women from every nation, tribe, people and language will be wearing the white robes of grace-secured salvation… while waving palm branches of praise and shouting in perfect harmony… “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” That’s not inspirational hype, but our living hope.

Indeed, by the light of that eternal Day of prayer, this isn’t to be a day of fear, cynicism, and selfishness… but one of courage, humility and servant-love. Help me… help us to be good citizens of two countries… until the kingdom of God arrives in fullness with the return of the true King of glory… that would be Jesus. So very Amen, I pray, in his sovereign and saving name. "

Scotty Smith

Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship

Christ Community Church

1215 Hillsboro Rd.

Franklin, TN 37069


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The next piece of the DANIEL puzzle fell into place!!!

THIS  letter is what we have been waiting for for months................after the other  waits..................... THIS  LETTER   is what should cause  our adoption move forward to the issuance of an official adoption decree! THAT  step will enable us to send our packet to the Embassy for a visa appointment for Daniel and THAT STEP means I may travel to Liberia and
 BRING OUR TODDLER-BABY  BOY  HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We were without internet most of yesterday and a good part of today. This WONDERFUL piece of news sat in my inbox for quite  while before I knew it was there. The tiers of goose bumps which then resulted have not yet gone away!  I am still rejoicing and praising God  for sustaining Daniel all this time and rejoicing that we got this YES  YOU MAY MOVE FORWARD  nudge!!I called Charlie, sent emails, and called some close dear friends who had been praying so fervently with us, and I am still calling  and emailing! After the oh-so-clearly-closed door we recognized was in front of us concerning Junior and Diamoh, we were really praying over whether this too would be a closed door to Daniel's adoption, and if all three children were to remain children of our hearts  but not of our home. BUT NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This door IS  open, the hallway is shorter than it was before and the doors are open! I may hold a car wash or two over the next few weekends to help pay for Daniel's plane ticket (if he'd come home before his 2nd birthday we would not have needed to buy him a ticket. That date passed us by a couple of months)
 but DANIEL    IS   IS   IS    closer to coming home  and God will show us how to creatively fund even the "unexpected" costs!!