Monday, June 21, 2010

Favorite Things...

It's that time of year again...time for making strawberry jam!! I love it. It feels like Grandma and Mom and Summer and childhood all smooshed up into jars....mmmmm....delish!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pocket Change

I'm a slow learner. It's true. I've been witness to some really amazing God things in my 33 years. You would think I'd have learned to wait with excitement and anticipation for Him to work in unexpected and mighty ways.

A few of our friends, along with their families, began collecting pop cans and bottles in order to raise the funds necessary to ship some baby supplies to our missionary friends in Ghana, West Africa. These friends are starting a baby home to care for little ones no one else will care for. I honestly didn't expect that we would get very far with this fund raiser, maybe a few hundred dollars. Care to take a guess at the total?

One thousand, eighteen dollars and forty cents!!!!!

No joke people!

Ten little cents at a time (plus one check). Just amazing!

The picture is from Saturday. We had the kids help out by going door to door collecting pop cans and handing out flyers. They did such a great job! They were racing from door to door and arguing over who got to talk once the door was answered. Kids helping kids! Love it!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

These two...






Today is the last day of school for Derek and Lukas. I'm just amazed at how quickly time is flying right past. Derek will be in 4th grade next year and Lukas will be in 2nd. They've both grown a lot over the year and they are looking so HUGE! I can imagine far enough down the road to the day they will tower over me. At the rate we're going, it's not far off!

These guys have their moments of not seeing eye to eye, or getting on one another's nerves. They also are GREAT buddies. They really both have such kind hearts. I feel so blessed to get to watch God growing them into young men of faith. Derek's prayers can make the hair on my body stand up straight. Lukas leaves notes around the house that bring tears to my eyes every time.

As they're getting older and gradually they are gaining more and more responsibility for their lives, I feel less and less able to protect them. I feel a bigger and bigger sense of urgency for bold prayers on their behalf. I know that the only One who can offer any real protection to them is God. In reality, I can't protect them from this world. I would leap tall buildings and climb high mountains if I needed to. But the bottom line is that the protection I want for them and the protection they need isn't physical. So I carry on as Mom, prayer warrior.

Endings and beginnings, they always make me sentimental and reflective.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beach Babe

Hanna is a gal after her Momma's own heart. She l.o.v.e.s. the beach! She doesn't lie in the sun sipping delicious beverages like her Momma. But she really likes scooping sand and combing the beach for treasures. I forsee many'a lazy beach day in her future. Smart gal, that one.





Friday, June 4, 2010

Again!!

Drew may be one of those people who loves living on the edge of danger. He loves to be tossed and flipped and spun. He can NOT get enough! Chris was tossing him in the air at the beach last night and he cried and cried to get him to do it "again". These pictures make my heart pound but they're stunning at the same time.





Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love for Orphans Transforms

This is a great article by Jedd Medefind who is the President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. I love it!!!

Unwanted infants in ancient Rome were often disposed of via the practice of “exposing.” Whether undesirable because it was malformed, female or simply inconvenient, the child would be left alone, outside the city walls, without defense before glaring sun, icy winds or roving animals.

In 374 AD, the Christian emperor Valentinian banned the practice. But for centuries prior, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. The early church was known, even among many who despised it, as a people who defended the orphan. Believers went outside the city to find infants abandoned there, taking them in, and often raising them as their own. This witness was one powerful factor in the vibrant life and growth of Christianity in its first 300 years, and at other high points in history as well. It can be that way again.

Last month, 1,200 Christian orphan advocates from across America and beyond gathered in Minneapolis. At moments, the ethos and interactions felt almost electric. As one band leader expressed, “It felt like that was the first time I’d been worshipping and every person in the room was really a Christian.” I understood what he meant. From families with adopted HIV+ children, to foster parents, to individuals serving the fatherless around the globe, the spirit of that community carried the feel of the early days after Pentecost. As best I can discern, here are four key reasons why:

Caring for orphans reflects the heart of God. From Isaiah’s call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (1:17) to James’ placement of orphan care at the heart of “pure and undefiled religion” (1:27), the biblical mandate is clear. But this is not merely God’s expectation of us; it is a mirroring of His own character. “He defends the fatherless,” declares Deuteronomy 10:18. Describes the Psalmist, “He places the lonely in families.” To be like our heavenly Father, we’re invited to do the same.

Caring for orphans makes the Gospel visible. At the heart of the Christian story is the God who pursued us when we were destitute and alone. He adopted us as His children, and invites us to live as His sons and daughters. Perhaps nothing makes this truth more tangible than when Christians follow in their Father’s footsteps, opening heart and home in unconditional affection to the child that has no claim upon them but love.

Caring for orphans defies the gods of our age. Darwinism’s sole ethical imperative is to ensure one’s own genetic material carries forward. So like Gideon tearing down his father’s idols (Judges 6), we assault this dictate when we seek to ensure the survival, and thriving, of a child that does not share our genes. Meanwhile, the purposeful sacrifices required to love this child flout the demands of other gods also, from materialism to self-actualization to comfort. The cost must be counted. But—compared to the depth and richness found along the path of caring for orphans—these false gods are shown to be as lifeless and unsatisfying as statues of bronze or wood.

Caring for orphans invites a journey of discipleship. “I see these kids changed,” explained a woman who helps Christians get involved with foster care, “But I think the parents are changed even more.” It’s true. Every family I know that’s opened themselves to parentless children has not gone unaltered. And though the road can be hard, even painful, virtually always it leads closer to Jesus. Expressed one adoptive mom recently, “People have said, ‘Oh, aren’t they lucky, you rescued them from whatever.’ And I think, Are you kidding? I’m the lucky one. I get to be their mom. And I get to be daily rescued from my selfishness, and my impatience, and things that are just as disease-ridden in my soul.”

Ultimately, here’s the result I see again and again: love for orphans transforms. It transforms children as they experience love and nurture they’ve come to live without. It transforms individual Christians, as we encounter Jesus deeply and personally in a destitute child. It transforms the broader community of believers as well, pulling us corporately beyond a religion of self-development to a costly-but-muscular faith. Finally, love for orphans transforms a watching world, as it sees—perhaps for the first time—the Gospel embodied.

Close friends from Washington, DC, Tom and Leah, adopted a little boy from an African nation two years ago. He’d been found, abandoned, at the edge of a forest, umbilical cord still attached. “He was left for the hyena,” described the old woman who discovered him when the newborn’s cry startled her milk cow.

When I heard that story, I couldn’t help thinking of the early Christians, going outside the city walls to take in abandoned infants. I feel the same about what’s going on in Colorado, where so many Christians have adopted from the foster system that the number of children waiting for adoption has been cut from nearly 800 in 2008 to just 365 today. The same goes for countless partnerships between U.S. Christians and churches abroad to care for orphans within their home countries as well.

Christians are again becoming known as a people who defend the cause of the fatherless. As we do, the world won’t be left unchanged. Neither will we.

Jedd Medefind serves as the President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day Maker

Lukas came home today with the most precious thing in his backpack. It's a writing piece done by a classmate. She writes, "Dear Lukas, The important thing about you is your heart is so wonderful to me!" Your friend, "L"

What a sweet little girl! I'm certain she has no idea how much this brightened his mommy's day!