Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making a Difference!

I just finished reading "What Difference Do It Make?" (yes, that's what it's called - you have to read the book to understand the reason for the incorrect grammar).  Incredible book!  It's been a summer of great reading for me!!  Through the many books I've read and also just through the prompting of the Holy Spirit I've been so inspired to get more involved in my community and make a difference. 
Several months back I had heard on the radio about a ministry called Birthday Blessings.  Their ministry brings birthday joy and support to homeless children and their families. They operate on the belief that every child's life deserves to be celebrated, regardless of circumstance.  Which I whole-heartedly agree with! 
I've decided that I'm going to start volunteering with their ministry one morning a week.  If any of you are local and interested, I'd love to have you join me!

I love this quote -
I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the
something I can do.

What's the something you can do?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


en·dur·ance  n.  The act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress

When I think of endurance I always think of runners - those who keep on, even when every muscle in their body is saying STOP!  I can't say I remember exactly what that's like - I was a runner in my younger days, but have lost the desire to be one now - but I do love those with endurance!  I strive to be one with endurance.

The great thing for us as Christ-followers is that our "power" is coming from the one true, endless Source!
He never promised us that life would smooth-sailing, stress or hardship-free.  He did, however, promise that He would be our source of never-ending strength - so that we can endure!  And not just endure, but endure with gusto - endure victoriously!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Great Thought for Today...

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.
(Francis Chan)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Putting this 1000 piece puzzle together has become our new fascination (maybe obsession is a better word).  Here's our progress so far -

Hopefully, we'll finish it up before we pull all our hair out!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God Funds what He Favors and He Favors Adoption

I want to be as real as possible as I share our adoption journey, but I also am a pretty private gal so sharing some of the more personal aspects of this process will be a stretch for me (but I promise I'll do the best I can).
We believe that one of the ways God will make Himself most evident in our adoption will be by providing for us financially - by moving the mountain, so to speak, that stands between us and the child He has for us.  One of the things that I love about the adoption blog world is reading about all the different ways that God has provided for families just like ours. It's encouraging, inspiring and reminds us again that this is God's story and it will be for God's glory!
The fact of the matter is that international adoption is a financially costly journey - we've known that from the start.  One of the things that we're excited about is seeing how God will provide to bring one of His children home.  We know He will.  There isn't a doubt in our minds that God funds what He favors and He favors adoption! 
So we are praying and skimping and saving and we're even getting a little bit creative!  Pretty soon, we'll be unveiling our new Adoption T-Shirt!  We want to give our family and friends a fun way to support our adoption and also get something pretty cool for yourselves in return. We're in the design/print stage right now, but we'll let you know as soon as they're ready.  We hope you'll buy one for yourself and also pass along the opportunity to all your friends!  We promise they'll be cool! (you know they'll have to be if Abbi's going to agree to wear it)

So...we'd love for you to pray with us - thanking God that His timing and provision are perfect and asking the Holy Spirit to give our family patience and wisdom as we wait on Him.  And...we'd also like to ask you to save up for one of our Adoption T-Shirts and spread the word once they're available! 
We can't wait to share with you how God moves this mountain - I'll try to do it as authentically and openly as possible.  Like I said, this is God's story and we want it to be all for His glory!

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Official - She's a Teenager!

Happy 13th Birthday Averi! 
Right now, our birthday girl is at Whisper Mountain on our church's middle school retreat, so we'll wait to start the "celebrating" until she gets home on Wednesday night - but I wanted to take a few minutes to rave about our sweet Averi Kristine!

Words that describe Averi:  smart, funny, loyal, loving, innocent (or some might say gullible), responsible, kind and thoughtful - she believes the best in others, sticks close to those she loves and has a soft heart that God is molding for His glory!  She's a true friend and absolutely beautiful inside and out!  There are so many things I love about this girl - I want to be Averi when I grow up!
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl - We can't wait to see the plans God has for you as you grow into the young lady He's designed you to be! 
We love you so much!

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Grandma

Elise Parker 1920-2010
When I think of my Grandma there are so many things that come to mind... 
I think of all the times my cousin Sally and I used to spend at my Grandma and Grandpa's house - swimming in their pool, swinging on the hammock, being tickled and tucked into the twin beds - ready to spend the night. Christmas Eves spent waiting for Santa to make a visit, eating Grandma's trifle and watching old family slides.  All those memories are vivid and priceless.
I think of how many times Grandma and Grandpa prayed for all of us -their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
I think of how stylish Grandma was - with her hair done, nails painted...her jewelry and high heels.
I think of how much she loved Grandpa and how much she's missed him since he's been gone - They were 2 peas in a pod and I know she's been hoping for this day ever since he passed away.
My Grandma went to Heaven this morning and I feel incredible joy that I'll see her again someday.  Until then, I'm so thankful for sweet memories to hold onto!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Shield

God says that His Word is alive and powerful and I believe Him!  I love when I read a verse that I've known for years and all of a sudden something new in that verse jumps off the page - something that I've never really noticed before.  I had that happen this past week...
Some things have come up this week that have challenged me.  To be honest, I was feeling really small and discouraged.  As I was reading through the Psalms I came upon Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped...  This is a verse that I've known since my AWANA days (we won't say exactly how long ago that was) - I've read it many times.  In the past I've always held onto the “strength” part of that verse and sort of jumped over the “shield” part, but this week... I was really struck by the fact that the LORD is my shield! 

The LORD is my shield.

He stands in front of me.

I love to picture that - me, small and helpless with my Almighty, Powerful Savior standing in front of me - I picture Him with his hands on his hips, feet spread apart - sort of that "noone's going to mess with my girl" pose.  He's taking the arrows that are meant for me and they just bounce right off Him.  Pretty soon, I don't feel so small anymore - I feel like I'm standing taller and stronger!  My heart trusts in Him and I'm helped.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Adoption Paperwork Day"

At this rate, I'll have all our adoption paperwork completed around 2015.  Seriously... It's not that I haven't been getting around to it because it's not important - that couldn't be further from the truth.  It's just that in the midst of being wife, mom, children's ministry director, friend, laundry-lady, house-cleaner, food-preparer, problem-solver and of course, lady-of-leisure - it's hard to fit everything in!
I've decided that I need to have a plan.  So... the plan is that Friday will be "adoption paperwork day" - a day (well at least a few hours of the day) set aside for getting paperwork done in a timely manner! 
So here's what I accomplished on my 1st "adoption paperwork day":  I finished filling out our Home Study Application and Response Form, printed them off, attached a check, attached a family picture, attached a picture of our house - put them all in an enevelope, addressed it to Christian Family Services, attached a stamp and put it in the mailbox.  Job well done!
One step closer - I'm trying not to think about the many, many steps in front of us (or the dollar bills that go along with each of those steps).  Today, I'm rejoicing in completing this step and resting in the truth that God's timing and provision are perfect!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stretching and Growing

As we move forward in our adoption process, I'm already seeing how God is going to use this experience to stretch and grow me.  I have a feeling He's going to teach me a thing or two about waiting!  For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm one to take on tasks with focus and determination.  I'm a "let's get'er done" type of gal - the quicker the better!  I'm already realizing that the journey to our sweet little one is not going to be a quick, "let's get'er done" type of deal.  There are so many things in the timing of this process that are beyond our control. 

I'm convinced that there are those who know how to embrace the journey, who rejoice in the day...and then there are those of us who just want to celebrate at the end of the journey, at the end of the day.

I'm praying that God will grow me into one who truly embraces the journey, simply rejoices in the day - I have a feeling that if I can learn to do that, it will make the celebration at the end of the journey, even sweeter! 

So let the stretching and growing begin!  I'm not just going to wait for the process to be over, but I'm going to wait with great anticipation for what the journey holds!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Resting - Time Well Spent

Resting can be difficult for me, but I'm getting some much needed practice at it this week.  Our family is up in MI enjoying time with family and friends - away from our normal responsibilities and routines. The first couple of days I'll admit it's hard for me to stop thinking about what's going on at home, at work, in the web-world; but it doesn't take too long to realize that it all keeps on keeping on with or without me. That's both humbling and reassuring all at the same time!
In the midst of resting, here are some things that God has brought to my mind this week (in no particular order)...
My life is His story - He plays the starring role (not me)
A wedding at the Zoo is awesome - here are some pictures to prove it -Jake and Courtney's Wedding
God sure knew what He was doing when He designed us to dance - when else can you have so much fun, burn so many calories and care so little about what others think of you!
Each day I need to reduce my expectations to zero and just embrace whatever He brings my way
MI is absolutely some of God's most beautiful handiwork (but I do enjoy it much more when it's not covered in snow)
God funds what He favors and He favors adoption
Life is so much more purposeful and peaceful when God is steering the boat
And last, but certainly not least...There's nothing like time spent around a campfire!