Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It is amazing to me that in 13 hours and 45 mins it is going to be 2009. Another year has passed and what lies ahead is a brand new year. Like a fresh covering of snow unmarred by footprints and snow angels, this new year is pure.

As I look back over 2008 it is easy to focus on the challenges, as there were many for my family. However, the blessings were so much greater. I said goodbye to one of my children, but peace was restored to our family. I lost half of my income, but God has provided in such a way that the loss hasn't really been felt. My son went through some trauma and I couldn't be with him, but God was with him and everything turned out well.

I feel as though I have learned so much this past year. Mainly, I have learned to totally depend on God again. I feel as though God has brought me back to the basics. Learning to completely depend on Him and just being grateful for being His child. I'm in a good place.

2009 will bring it's share of heartache, I'm sure. However, I am also sure that the blessings will far outweigh the heartache. As His child I am secure in the fact that nothing is wasted in God's economy. There are lessons to be learned, memories to be banked, laughter to spare, and blessings to share. I'm excited to see what this year has to offer. I'm eager to see where God leads me and prepared to walk down whatever path He sets in front of me. I am making no resolutions as I believe those are meant to be broken. However, I am making a committment to the Lord.

Thank you Lord for a turbulent year. Although I would have never asked to go through some of things my family has been through, I wouldn't change it for the world. You are such an awesome God and I praise you for the storms!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Starring Role

He was born over 2000 years ago.

It's easy to become detached to the story.

But that story involves us.

We were there.

In His heart.

We played a role then.

We play a role now.

Which character are you?

Are you the inn keeper who has no room?

Are you a shepherd still waiting for a sign from God?

Are you a religious leader who knows all about God, but has yet to truly know God?

Are you a woman or man who God has asked to do the impossible?

Did you say yes or are you still asking Him.....why me?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Light Of The World

He was born in a manger.

Humble beginnings for the King of Kings.

A Savior that was born to die.

His infant eyes had already beheld the Father. His tiny ears had already heard an angels symphony. His chubby, little hands would grow and restore sight to the blind. The newborn Baby that cried in the night would speak truth to the masses, rebuke leaders of the religious law, and cry out to the Father in His final moments.

I admit, sheepishly, that this story has become so familiar to me that I often don't think about it during the year. That is one of the reason's I love Christmas so much. It is always a reminder of the night Love came down and became flesh.

I am in awe of the humble beginnings of our Messiah. Of all the ways God could have chosen to send Jesus..................

Instead He chose a young woman who risked everything to be obedient to Him. A young man who risked everything when he chose to stay with that young woman. He sent His angels to shepherds in a field. It was all about humility. From Jesus' birth to His death. Even the sign He sent to declare the birth of the Messiah was humble.

A star. Shining bright in the night sky. No trumpets. No fanfare. No parting of the seas. Just a bright star announcing a single statement........

The Light of the World is here.

"There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." John 1:6-9

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breaking Bread. Breaking Bones.

This Thanksgiving I found myself particularly grateful. It has been a rough year for our family, but God has shown us His faithfulness and Love in more ways than I can even begin to tell. I awoke on Thanksgiving Day with a heart full of love and awe for my God.

Around noon I tried calling my son, Joshua, in California to wish him Happy Thanksgiving. I didn't get an answer, so I tried his dad's phone. No answer there either. I figured they had already began their day, so I decided to try them later. About 5 mins later my phone rang. It was Eddie, the kids' dad. He informed me that they were in the process of taking my son to emergency via the ambulance.

Eddie and his friends play football every Thanksgiving. It's their tradition. Josh wanted to be on the opposite team so he could 'take down' his dad. Can't say I blame him. There are days I would like to do that, too. :) Apparently, Josh was running a play and got tackled. Josh's cleat got stuck in the mud, his leg was stuck and when he was hit.....his leg snapped. Eddie knew his leg was broke, but wasn't sure exactly where. I could hear the ambulance and chaos in the background and my heart sank. The miles between us never felt so huge. I hung up and did the only thing I could do.......pray.

Eddie called me from the hospital several times to get info about allergies to medications and other miscellaneous info. All I wanted to do was talk to my son and find out how bad the break was. Eddie finally called with the news. It wasn't good. Josh broke his femur bone and it was not repairable. He would go in for surgery at 7:30am the next morning and the doctors would insert a titanium rod into his leg. My poor boy. I have never wanted to jump in my car and drive to California more than I did at that moment. Unfortunately, I knew it was not feasible. I couldn't afford it. And's probably better that I wasn't there.

I sat down to eat with my family that evening with a heavy, but grateful heart. Sad because I was so far away when my son needed me the most. Grateful because no matter how bad of a break it was, it was repairable. He wasn't paralyzed. He wasn't dead. Grateful that I did not have to witness my son going through that moment that would've haunted me for the rest of my life. Grateful that our God is so loving that I was able to have peace in moments where there should have been none.

This is how my son spent Thanksgiving:

Without his mom, but with a God who loves Him so much more than I could ever dream of.

Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, November 7, 2008

There Goes My Baby.

At 8am I found myself at the Courthouse, again. 3 days ago I walked through those double doors to say goodbye to my daughter, Amber. Today, I walked through those double doors to say goodbye, in a different way, to my daughter, Sammie. Both days involved tears of letting go.

Sammie got her drivers license today!

I really thought I might get through this morning without tears, but it just didn't happen. As Sam and I prayed together this morning, I struggled to keep my voice steady and my lip from quivering. Darn it! I had intended on being so strong today. However, as I watched her drive away, alone, I could feel my eyes and nose begin to sting. Where has the time gone? How did this day arrive so fast?

It's 9:44am and Sam has already stopped by my office, returned the video's to the movie rental place, gone to the grocery store, and stopped by her work to check her schedule. On most days I am doing good just to get her out of bed, into the shower, and doing her school work by 9:30am. I think she may be a little excited!

And...even though there is a part of me that wishes she would stay a little girl forever, I can't help but be excited for her as she begins another chapter in her life. Next year, she will be graduating and leaving for college. I better spend lots of time in prayer over this next year asking God to prepare my heart for that. I have a feeling.........that's not gonna be pretty:)

Congratulations Sammie!
I love you and I am so, so proud of you.
Be safe.

(And don't forget to watch for deer, look both ways before going through an intersection, make complete stops, watch for pedestrians, don't be in a hurry, don't talk on your cell while driving, and always buckle up! I know. I can't help it. You're still my little girl.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 4th, 2008

I woke up on November 4, 2008 with a desire to bow my head and pray to my Lord. My court appearance with Amber was less than 4 hours away, but my heart wasn't burdened to pray for that, but for the upcoming election. I found this odd. I was obedient to the desire, I believe, God layed on my heart and lifted both candidates in prayer. As I finished praying for the election, I lifted Amber and our court session in prayer and ended, as I always do, with "Your will be done".

As we (my mom, dad, and I) entered the large, double doors of our beautiful courthouse I was at peace. As a matter of fact, I had been at peace all morning. Only once did my heart begin to race as I looked at the time while working and realized that I would be leaving for court in half an hour. It was a brief moment of anxiety that was quickly stilled by the voice of my Savior.

I wasn't sure where to go once we entered the courthouse. Nobody had contacted me since I had been served with papers requesting my presence. I stepped into the Clerk of Court and asked her where I should go. She asked if it was a juvenile hearing or a Magistrate hearing. I told her that I thought it was probably a juvenile hearing. She asked why I was appearing and as the words "to give up rights to my daughter" left my mouth, there was an instant sting in my heart. I could see her face change briefly, I could only imagine what she thought, as she directed me to the 2nd floor.

As we neared the top of the steps I could see the large double doors that lead to the courtroom. We were the only people there. Of course, we were a little early, too. We weren't there long before I could see Amber, her boyfriend, and her mom, Sue, walking up the steps. They got to the top, looked at us, looked away, and stood as far from us as possible. I had smiled at them as they looked at us, but there was no response. I was thankful that my parents were there as I could hear them whispering and laughing. I suddenly felt like the unpopular girl in school who was being made fun of by the 'cool kids'. My parents and I talked, in normal talking voices, about the election, the beauty of our courthouse, and various other topics. I was determined to not play their game, although, the biggest part of me wanted to. That, however, would've been dishonoring to them and unpleasing to God.

The door to the judges chamber opened and a young woman walked past us. She called Amber's name and walked over to her. I could hear her introduce herself as Amber's lawyer. I heard her tell Amber that my lawyer had not shown up and that they may have to postpone the court date. I groaned at the thought of it. I was ready for this to be over. A few minutes later, another woman came out of the judges chamber and introduced herself to me. She would be filling in for my lawyer. She was apologetic for not being familiar with my case and I quickly put her at ease by letting her know that I had never spoken with the other lawyer so she was probably as up to speed as he was. She asked me what was going on and I gave her the condensed version of our story. She said she would have me testify and walked away. I looked over at my mom and she was weeping. My mom is one of the sweetest, most wonderful women I know. She would do anything for anybody. But....if you mess with her family, she is like a mother bear protecting her cubs. She was angry at Amber for all the hurt she had caused and it was too much for her to take. She had to leave.

The door to the courtroom opened and Amber's lawyer asked her to come in. My dad and I sat there not knowing whether we should follow. Shortly, my lawyer summoned us into the courtroom as well. The courtroom was very quiet. We were the only people in there besides the judge, the court reporter, and two spectators. My lawyer motioned for me to sit at the table next to her and across from the county attorney and the C.P.S. worker who had interviewed me about the abuse charges Amber had filed.

The judge asked me to speak first, so I gave her a very brief rundown of the events that lead us to be in front of her. Then the judge gave my lawyer a chance to speak. I couldn't imagine what my lawyer could possibly say. She had only gotten the file a nano-second prior to my testimony. However, she looked through the file the entire time I spoke and when the judge asked her if she had anything she wanted to say she pointed to a section in our adoption home study where Amber, in her own words, had said what a loving family we are and how she couldn't wait to be a part of it. Immediately my mind went back to that time. I remember when Amber was excited to be a part of our family and it hurt to be sitting there only a short two years later.

Then, it was Amber's turn to speak. Her lawyer asked her if she wanted to speak to the judge directly or if she wanted her (the lawyer) to speak on her behalf. Amber chose to let her lawyer speak for her. Amber's lawyer gave Amber's version of events and recommended that Amber be allowed to stay with her biological mom with the stipulation that DHS and CPS would be heavily involved. She also requested a change of venue since Amber doesn't reside in my county anymore.

The judge approved both requests, but was very hesitant. She harshly reprimanded Amber and Sue (Amber's mom) for using the system. The judge realized that Amber had been given a chance to live in a loving home and had thrown it away when she wasn't allowed to do whatever she wanted. She cited Amber's statement to the adoption worker (the one my lawyer had pointed out) as proof that our home wasn't the awful home that Amber was trying to make it out to be and was very concerned that Amber would end up back in court in a few months when she didn't get her way with her mom. I lowered my head as tears filled my eyes. I felt vindicated. Somebody who didn't know Amber and didn't know myself was able to see what she was doing. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. A weight I had no idea existed until it was removed. I felt so free.

As I sat in the courtroom this day, there was a part of me that couldn't believe that Amber was getting her way. All of the 'crap' she had put our family through and there she sat getting exactly what she wanted. However, God gently reminded me that although Amber was getting what she 'wanted' she was not getting what was best for her. She is far from Him and moving even further. Then, my heart broke for her again.

The rest of the day was hard. Her picture sits on my desk. A picture of happier times. A time when she was happy to be with us and eager to not walk down the same path as her mom. I thought about the fun times we had as a family and wondered when things went so wrong. My heart misses her and I have to admit, it surprises me. I didn't expect to feel so much. I thought my emotions had been pushed to the limit. See, that's the kind of person I am. I will only put up with so much and when I am done......I'm done! No regrets. No emotion. No looking back. Done. Moving on with the next chapter of my life. That's the way I have been for most of my life. Not this time. This is new territory for me as this is the first relationship I have 'lost' since finding Christ.

I praised God yesterday for how He had orchestrated the day. From my lawyer, 'Joe', not showing up....... to a judge who took time to listen and see the truth and didn't treat us like we were just 'another case' on her docket. I also prayed for Amber and will continue to do so. I pray for my children daily and Amber is still my child. She may not have been born into our family, but God placed her in our family. He also placed her into my heart.....where she will always reside no matter where she lives physically.

I am so thankful for the prayers of all who have prayed for us. What a blessing to know that someone is lowering their head before the Lord and lifting up your name and situation. There aren't words enough to express my gratitude.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Never Fails.

This post has been a long time coming. I have started it in my head a million times, but just couldn't put it together. However, this blog is my journal. It is a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings. Something I have a hard time doing. I am one of those people who likes to just put all of the 'icky' things away and sort 'em out with God and God alone. I have a tendency to only blog about things once they have already been dealt with. This method ensures that no raw emotion is spewed all over the page. It also makes, in the end, a very nice, well thought out, post that I can wrap in a little bow and present for the viewing pleasure of those who are nice enough to read my ramblings. This one....not so much. No pretty bow. Not thought out. Just raw emotion. This is hard.

When I chose to adopt Amber I knew that God had called me to do it and I was anxious to do it. I loved her and wanted to provide her a safe, loving, home. I saw things in her. Good things. She was making positive changes everyday. She was growing in her relationship with Christ and our family was adjusting to our newest family member. Things were still hard, but there was hope. We had ups and downs as any family does, but I certainly didn't go into this adoption with rose colored glasses on. I knew that adopting a child at 13 years of age was not going to be an easy road. There would definitely be challenges. But, I also knew that God was in control and He could get us through anything.

Amber's behavior began to get increasingly worse over the next couple of years. She fell away from God and began doing things that she knew were not allowed in our home. She exposed my youngest daughter to things that she should never have seen or heard. My eldest daughter and Amber began to fight constantly, mostly because of how Amber treated me. Physically...Amber was a beautiful 15 year old girl, but mentally she was a 5 year old throwing a 2 year long, continuous temper tantrum.

I work with teens. I knew she just wanted to be loved. She was crying out for attention and willing to go to, just about, any length to get it. She began telling people that I was abusing her. It got her the attention and sympathy she was looking for, I suppose. I found this out when one of her boyfriends refused to look at me. He was a pretty nice kid and we got along pretty good. Then, all of a sudden, he wouldn't even talk to me. After they broke up I found out, from his mom, that she had told him all kinds of awful things about me. No wonder he couldn't stand me. She had made me out to be a monster that abused her and refused to let her go see her dying grandmother (neither were true. She hadn't even asked to see her grandma and her grandma wasn't dying). I also noticed that some of the adults in our church that she had become close to stopped talking to me. Still, I understood that because of her background this is the way she had chosen to get people to 'love' her. I took her to get counseling.

She did well with the counselor. For awhile. I could see some progress and things looked like they might be OK. She seemed to really like him and her behavior had gotten a little better. I don't know what caused it, other than Satan himself, but suddenly she refused to go to counseling. She said it was stupid and that she wouldn't go and I couldn't make her. She was wrong. I could've made her, but what was the point? She had already made it very clear that she liked the person she was and did not want to change. She was lying, manipulating, stealing, and even becoming violent with my youngest daughter. I tried desperately to figure out why anyone would want to live their life like that. For Amber....she felt it worked for her. It was all she had ever known. Her biological mother was the same way. It was 'normal' for Amber and she was convinced that being a manipulative, lying, theif, was who she was instead of what she was. She had bought the lie that Satan had sold her and she was owning it proudly.

I had kept her biological mom at a distance for most of Amber's time with us. I noticed, early on, that Amber's behavior became unbearable after speaking with her mom. However, the bonds of mother and child are strong and her mom found a way to get around me (even after I disconnected our phone and got rid of our internet). As they began to build their relationship, my relationship with Amber began to unravel even faster. She wanted to me to give up my rights to her and allow her to go back to her mom. I partially caved and told her that she could stay with her mom for this school year, but reminded her that I am still her legal mom and that I would be in the picture. Both Amber and her mom thanked me for allowing them the chance to be together again. While I was unsure about the decision, I knew something had to change for the benefit of the rest of my family. The past couple of years with Amber had taken it's toll on us physically and emotionally.

A week into Amber going to live with her mom, I received a phone call from her mom and her boyfriend stating that Amber had run away. They wanted my help. There wasn't much I could do, so I called Amber's cell phone. She answered. We talked for a few minutes and I encouraged her to go to her mom and let her know where she was. Turns out, Amber was throwing a fit because her mom had placed her on restriction. Unfortunately, Amber's way of dealing with things is to run. Although she had never run away from my home physically, she definitely ran away from me emotionally. A couple of weeks later, Amber called me and asked me to emancipate her so she could legally be on her own. In the state of Iowa, emancipation of a minor can only happen if that minor is getting married. Since she wasn't, this wasn't an option. She then asked me to give up my rights as her mother. I told her that I would not do that. I explained to her that I would never give up one of my matter how bad things may get. My exact words were...."I'm not that kind of mom!" I meant it and she knew it. She was not happy.

Approximately a week later, I received a call from CPS (Child Protective Services). Amber had filed child abuse charges against me. I couldn't believe it. I was absolutely wrecked. I was sad, scared, angry, confused, and every emotion you could think of all at the same time. Like a small child throwing a fit because they didn't get their way, this was her last ditch effort at getting out of my home permanently. The worker came to interview me and we talked for about an hour. Amber was claiming that I had punched her in her head and bruised her shoulder.....3 months earlier. The worker was very nice and reassured me that he was pretty sure she didn't have a case since there were no witnesses and no marks that were documented. I told him that I wasn't worried about it because I hadn't done anything. Then, he gave me a choice. I could bring Amber back into my home and attempt to continue to parent this child or I could sign her over to the state. I knew in my heart that this child could never come into our home again.

I signed the paperwork and have been playing the waiting game. Our court date is November 4th. Almost 2 years to the day that Amber's adoption was final. I have no idea if Amber is still with her mom or in a shelter. I am sure I could find out by picking up a phone, but the truth is....I don't want to know.

Everyday seems to be an opportunity for God to teach me something. That is one reason I haven't written about this. I am staying 'still'. I am straining to listen for His voice while rebuking the voice of Satan who spends most of his time telling me that I am a horrible parent, a horrible person, and even worse....a horrible Christian.

I am not angry at Amber. She has learned to do whatever it takes to get what you matter what the cost. I am, however, sad for her. I worry about her future, knowing that her future is no longer (as if it ever was) mine to worry about it. I don't regret the journey I have been on, but I am so very sad at the outcome. I pray for her daily and still consider her my child.

As I picked up my subpoena the other day, I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that would come. To be honest, over the past year, I have really had to pray to God that He would fill my heart with love for her. I knew I didn't like her very much and was afraid that maybe my love for her was gone, too. God answered my prayer. As I signed the court papers I was so overcome with love and emotion that it took my breath away. I hesitated slightly as the last couple of years seem to play like a movie in my head, flashing between scenes of laughter and tears. In the end, I knew I there was no other choice.

The Gospel has been presented to Amber. She knows God and better yet, God knows her. I believe, without a doubt, that His Word is never returned void. She can run from me, she can run from her biological mom, she can even run from herself, but she can't run from Him. Love never fails.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

May Bling?

Jordan, my youngest, was very excited to show me what they have been doing in her youth group. Apparently they have been talking about beauty. Right now, it seems, they are focused on outward beauty. Things that women/girls do to make themselves more beautiful on the outside. Knowing the youth leaders well, I am guessing that this will lead to inner beauty in the near future.

While I was home for lunch today Jordan whipped out a list she wanted me to look at. It was a list of beauty products that are available. The list was quite long! As a matter of fact my eldest daughter, Samantha, and myself were quite surprised at just how many beauty products there are. Jordan's list wasn't even complete as Samantha and I could think of several that weren't on there. However, I was also surprised at how many products I hadn't heard of.

One of the first products listed was May Bling, listed right under Mary Kay. I sat puzzled for just a moment before this little song played through my head:

'Maybe she's born with it....Maybe it's May Bling'

It suddenly dawned on me. It's Maybelline.

Samantha and I couldn't help but laugh. Jordan even chuckled when I explained that it had nothing to do with 'bling'.

I love how God gives us little giggles throughout the day. Special memories to look back on and blog about. How I adore time with my girls.

Monday, October 13, 2008

After the Aftermath

The night before I wrote the post entitled 'Aftermath', I had a dream. Now, typically my dreams amount to nothing. They are usually very random and I can't remember much about them. However, this dream seemed different.

I was walking along a bridge. It was more of an overpass and maybe I was running, I don't remember. There were a lot of people running on this bridge as there was a flood that was beginning to swallow up everything. The water was getting higher and we were running to safety. As I began to reach the top of the bridge I looked down and saw hundreds of people screaming and crying in the flood water. There were also people who had succumbed to the water and their bodies were floating. I don't remember anything after that, but I know that the water never took me under and that I survived. When I awoke the next morning that dream was heavy on my heart.

As I began to get ready for work, I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. I don't analyze my dreams often, but I felt as though this dream was different. I continued with my morning routine which included, unfortunately, a heated discussion with my youngest daughter. I always hate starting the day with an arguement. It kind of sets the tone for the day, doesn't it? I left the house, upset, went to work and began my day. While on the phone with a client, talking about something totally unrelated, the word aftermath ran in my head as did the scene from my dream. Because I am very impatient I was guessing that God meant the aftermath of my arguement with Jordan. Although I didn't lose my 'cool' so to speak, she was crying and in the past my words have left an aftermath of destruction. Hence the post.

Since that post there have been floods that have tried to pull me under. None of which I am ready to share right now. However, I do believe that dream was related to what was going to happen in my life. I believe God gave me the word Aftermath as a reassurance. To let me know that there was an approaching storm and it was a storm that would pass. That the water would never take me under and that I would survive. A reassurance that He is always my Bridge over troubled water.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quick to Judge

I have been astounded at the number of cases in the news about parents leaving their children in the hot car. Sadly, a vast majority of the time, those children succumb to the heat and lose their lives.

While I am ashamed of this, I must admit that I have judged those parents. I couldn't believe anybody could be so irresponsible as a parent. Obviously, that would NEVER happen to me. I am above 'stupid' mistakes. Right?

I was visiting Girlymama's blog today and received a nice, hard, God thump! You know...the one that smacks you right upside the head and knocks you off of the very tall pedestal you have placed yourself upon? Yea. One of those.

If you have ever been prideful enough to judge another parent (or anyone else for that matter) for a mistake you would NEVER make, please stop by her blog and read this post. I guarantee you will see things in a new light. Although God has been trying to teach me this lesson for about, oh, 7 YEARS, it was another reminder to me that God calls us to love......not judge.

Thank you Girlymama for the walk in your shoes. They were a little big, but I hope to fit in them when I'm all grown up:)

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Mothers Hands.

My grandpa had 'old' hands. He was old, but his hands were always older. They were always more wrinkled than the rest of him and the skin on his hands was very thin. A scrape to his hand would cause a large portion of skin to just tear off. His hands were always bruised.

I remember when I was younger I would tease my mom about her hands. She inherited my grandpa's thin, wrinkly skin. I used to stare at her hands for long periods of time and try to smooth them out. Of course, at that time my hands were young and firm. I was so afraid I would inherit them. Last night the subject of her hands came up again. We were with friends and she was explaining why she has large purple bruises on her hands. As I sat looking back and forth between her bruised hand and my hands that were beginning to resemble them, I couldn't help but praise God.

See, those bruised, wrinkled, hands of my moms are the same hands that have hugged me when I have been at my lowest. They have reached up and dried tears from my eyes. They have fixed me lunches and bandaged boo-boo's. They have held all 3 of my children and sewn up their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. They have made halloween costumes and crafts for my house. They have held my hands while giving birth and while going through surgery. They have stroked my hair as I have laid on her lap. They have cleaned my room, done my dishes, and ironed my clothes. The have clapped for me and disciplined me. They have held me up when I couldn't do it myself and they have let go when I needed them to. They have tucked me in, felt my head for fever, and they pray for me.

I no longer dread inheriting my moms hands. As a matter of fact, I pray I do.

Happy birthday mom.

I love you.........
To the moon and back!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

No. I'm not dead:)

As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged much lately. No reason in particular other than I have just felt 'quiet' lately. A lot has gone on in my life over the past month and even though I would like to share it, I don't feel as though I am ready. However, I do miss blogging very much. So, I will attempt to blog about every day happenings this month just so I can stay connected.

ACORN performed during our church services last week and they were incredible. They really led the congregation in Worship and didn't just 'perform'. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Our Worship director, Julie, liked them so much that she invited them to play every month that has a 5th Sunday. See, 5th Sundays are typically known as 'Hymn Sundays'. Julie so loved the contrast between the older hymns and the youth music that she would like it to become a regular 'gig':) They will play again in November. I will definitely try to have video! I totally forgot last time. I was so nervous for them!!!!

Some of you have asked about my last post 'Aftermath'. Some of my friends have asked me where it came from. Why did I write it? Was there something going on? There is more to that post and I'm working on sharing it. I am still waiting for God to reveal some things to me. As soon as I can piece it all together I will post about it. Just know that I, too, am anxious to know what it was about:)

My youngest daughter became a 'woman' yesterday. Ahem. I am hoping that you ladies will know what I am talking about because if I actually write about it she will disown me I promise you! I can't believe it. She is my baby and the time has gone by so fast. I sat and watched her sleep last night and wondered where the years have gone. Another chapter in her life. It makes me sad and joyful at the same time.

I will post a less random post tomorrow.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Aftermath.

Storms are fierce. They come in strong and sometimes, as we have seen with Hurricane Ike, leave an aftermath of total devastation. The images are gut wrenching. Homes reduced to piles of rubble. Big, strong tree's that have stood for hundreds of years snapped like twigs. Lakes where there used to be neighborhoods. But, pictures only show the physical damage. What they don't show is the mental anguish of the people who were unfortunate enough to be in the path of the storm and how it will affect their lives for years to come.

My words, at times, are like a storm. They are fierce. They come out strong and leave an aftermath of destruction. The physical damage is easy to see. Tears, anger, a frown, a look of disappointment, eyes filled with hurt. But, what I can't see is the destruction going on inside when someone I love has been unfortunate enough to be in the path of my storm. What I can't see is how my words will affect their lives for years to come. the aftermath hope springs anew as the damage is assessed and clean up begins. The rubble is still there but rebuilding has started. Outpouring of love soon replaces hurt and sadness. The wounds begin healing as the Son radiantly shines through the blue skies offering Grace, Mercy, and second chances.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Introducing......The A.C.O.R.N.S.?

Our Jr/Sr High youth ministries kick off tomorrow night and it is a year of changes. We have combined Riot (Jr. High) and Xtreme Faith (Sr. High) into one crazy group called 'EXIT' and we, as leaders, have committed to becoming prayer warriors for our youth this year. It's amazing how fast prayer can be forgotten as you get busier and busier. Not this year! Another change is that we will also feature a Youth Worship Band!

In the past, our youth worship team contained a couple of boys and girls who would stand on stage and sing to an accompaniment CD. Last year our youth director, Connie, asked us to get a band together. So, we did was pretty rough at first. OK. It stinked, stank, stunk. BUT.......after a Saturday workshop, many practices, and a few temper tantrums.....they are finally ROCKIN'! They have pulled together as a team and the music is awesome! I am soooo proud of them.

One of the things they decided to do was to come up with a name so they would be more united. Quite a few names were thrown into the hat and the one they liked the best was.....The A.C.O.R.N.S. Yeah. I said A.C.O.R.N.S. (it's actually an acronym). Now, I have to be honest. I hated it. I was hoping for something deep and spiritual (OK. I can't help it. I'm a mom and my daughter is a singer in this band). The thing is.....I've known most of these kiddo's since they were really young and I don't know what in the world made me think they would pick something deep and spiritual. That is not a slam against them or their walks with Christ. These teens, in particular, are just goofy! They have been friends a long time and they are always doing/saying off the wall stuff. I just should have known better! So. ACORNS it is. And....I have to's growing on me (don't tell Sam, though;).

The ACORNS will premier next Wednesday, September 24th during EXIT and will co-lead Worship during our church services on Sunday, September 28th! I will try to get video posted;)

Please keep these teens in your prayers. Not just the band, but all the kiddos who will come through our church doors tomorrow night. Pray that they will see and feel the love of Him Who gave His life for them!

Pray that us leaders will be His hands and feet!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To Boldly Go.....

As believers, we are to be bold in sharing our faith. Not my strong suit. I struggle with just laying the Gospel out to non believers. I worry about offending them. I worry that I will turn them
away from God instead of towards Him. There is a delicate balance in presenting the Gospel in love and grace and cramming the Gospel down someone's throat. It's a balance that I haven't quite mastered.

For the most part, I think that's OK. I believe God has created us all differently. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words"

That's me, I think. I am more focused on building relationships and allowing Christ to shine through my words and actions. I also pray for God to give me moments to share what He has done in my life. Sometimes those doors open and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they open and I choose to be silent anyway. I believe that's called disobedience.

I have a friend who is struggling with that right now. I won't give her name because I didn't ask permission to share this. However, it has been heavy on my heart since speaking with her yesterday. My friend and her husband had built a relationship with their neighbors who are also their landlords. They are also non believers. The neighbor lady has had cancer and she passed away Monday morning. I spoke with my friend yesterday to give her my condolences and she began to share with me.

My girlfriend had felt God prompting her, especially in the past couple of weeks, to go share the Gospel with her neighbor. He had shown her through scripture and devotions that now was the time. This past Saturday God had even told her that the time for her neighbor to pass was near, but she was too afraid to go. She didn't want to offend this woman who started as a landlord and had become her friend. She was disobedient to the Lord and now her chance had passed. She does not know if her landlord, her neighbor, her friend is with our Lord and she was feeling partly responsible. I could sense the deep sadness as we spoke and I so badly wanted to wrap my arms around her. I wanted to say something to make her feel better, but the truth is she was being disciplined. She had been disobedient and now she was having to live with the consequences. I could only listen and offer her understanding.

I have been there. I know that, on many occasions, I have failed to do what God has asked me to do. Mostly out of fear. How awful is it that I fear man and the opinion of man far more than I fear God Himself? I don't like that part of me. I suspect God doesn't either.

I was reading Acts chapter 4 the other night. The Sanhedrin had forbid Peter and John to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Peter and John would have none of it! They told the Sandhedrin that they would rather disobey them than God. That is my hearts desire. I desire to throw caution to the wind and speak boldly about Jesus. My prayer for me, my children, and all of us who are believers is the same as the apostles in Acts 4:29-30:

"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Sammie!

While we were on vacation, Samantha had her 17th birthday. We woke up to a very gloomy, moist morning. That was NOT good. We had friends that planned on coming to the lake to spend the day with us and from the looks of the morning we were afraid we were going to have to see if we could pile 20-30 people into a 6 person cabin. Yea. NOT good. However, God is SOOOO good and the gloom and moisture burned off by early afternoon.

The day was a little emotional for our family. Well, not for Jordan and Josh, but definitely for Sam, my folks, and I. My baby turned 17 yrs old and for some reason it felt worse than when she turned 16 yrs old. It seems like yesterday that she was just a little girl twirling around the house with her basket and apron pretending to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast or combing her hair with a fork pretending to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The time has gone so much quicker than I had anticipated. I praise God that He made our minds to hold so many precious memories.

Sam had an awesome 16th birthday and I really wanted her 17th birthday to be special as well. I knew we would be at the lake and we would have some friends coming to hang out with us, but I wanted it to be really special. Something she would never forget. So, my folks and I decided to get her an unforgettable present....................
What could possibly have my little girl in tears on her birthday?
OH YEA! This:

Think this birthday will be memorable???

(Um. Yea. It will be memorable every month when she makes the payment!:)

There's my little girl.....driving away...........


I love you so much. I am so proud of the young lady you have grown to be. I see so much of myself in you at times, and yet, you are so much stronger and braver than I ever was. You live your life in a way that is honoring to Christ and really, what more could I ask for? I am soooo blessed.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Renewing. Part 4

I chose to center these posts around a central theme; being renewed.

I looked up the word 'renewed' in the dictionary and found two meanings that described what God has been doing in my life:

Renewed: To replenish, To bring into being again

Did you catch that? To bring into being again!

I mentioned in part 2 that I was burnt out! I was. Physically, mentally, and Spiritually. I hadn't taken time to refuel myself. I was running on fumes and quite frankly, I hadn't even noticed my low fuel light was on, despite the many, many warning signs.

I am currently doing a Youth Leader Bible Study and one of the first challenges was to spend 15 mins a day being with God. No praying. No requests. Just 'being'. I did it a few times and really loved it, but, as always, life got in the way and I quickly went back into Martha mode. Then we left for the lake.

It was at the lake that God brought me into being. I was being refueled. I was being renewed. I was being prepared. I was being still. I was being restored.

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

If you replace the word 'renew' in Isaiah 40:31 with the dictionary definition of 'renew', it reads like this:

But those who hope in the LORD
will bring into being their strength.

I sensed God urging me to dig a little more so I did. What I found is that the word 'Hope' breaks down to 'Expectation'. The word 'Expectation' breaks down to 'Wait'. AND..........the word 'Wait' breaks down to......hear me on remain inactive. Now listen to this verse:

But those who remain inactive in the LORD
will bring into being their strength.

I never wanted to be one of those 'Christians' who open their Bible on Sunday and leave it to collect dust the rest of the week. So, I put it on my to-do list. Laundry: Check. Dishes: Check. Bible Study: Check. Bible Reading: Check. God doesn't want to be on my to-do list. He desires quality time with me. He desires me to rest in Him. To be inactive, completely, so He can refuel me. I used to believe it was a sign of weakness to admit that I needed rest. God has made it abundantly clear that in order to remain strong, I must rest in Him.

Through the trials of saying goodbye to Josh and letting Amber go, I did not grow weary nor faint. God had renewed me and prepared me. He had given me the strength to say goodbye and I continue to soar on wings like eagles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Renewing. Part 3

When I adopted my daughter, Amber, I knew it was going to be a hard row to hoe. I knew she was coming from a lifetime of deep hurt and deception. I waivered back and forth on whether I should finalize the adoption or not. However, every time I asked God to close a door if it wasn't His will, the door only opened wider. I knew that she was to be part of our family.

The past year has been hard. Harder than I could've possibly fathomed. I wasn't prepared for all that Amber would bring into our home. You can read book after book, go to class after class, but there is no textbook training that can help you deal with a child who simply doesn't want to be helped. Last week, Amber decided she no longer wanted to be a part of our family. I say that Amber made this decision last week, but in reality, Amber made the decision long ago. Last week...I chose to let her go.

Our home is peaceful. It is no longer a battlefield. I can leave my youngest daughter in the house with her sister and not worry about what is being said and done in front of her. The heaviness has been lifted and I can see the peace on my children's faces. I hadn't realized how hard this year has been on them. There is also, on my part, sadness, aching, and longing for what could've been, what was hoped for, and what's been lost. I pray for her daily. She is still my child.

Amber did not go camping with us. She had went to visit her biological mom. She called me while we were at the lake to inform me that she did not want to come home. I wanted to fight it, although, I'm not sure why. Deep down in places I would rather not visit, I knew it was coming and that it was time to let her go. When we got home we made arrangements for her to come get her things. We packed up her room and she came and picked up her belongings. That was that. No scene. No big emotional meltdown. No tears of sadness or joy. No real goodbyes. Just two lives that had intertwined for a moment in time beginning to unravel.

God had prepared us for such a time as this. The week prior had been filled with love, joy, peace, fun, and incredible family bonding moments. None of which included Amber. I knew if Amber had gone camping with us, our time together would have been tense, volatile, and completely stressful because each time I spoke with her a heaviness would come over me. God had given me a glimpse of life as it was and it forced me to realize how much I longed to live that life again. By doing this He gave me the strength to let go.

Amber has been, officially, gone for 4 days now and there is renewed laughter and joy in our home. My confidence in who I am, as a parent and a child of God, has also been renewed. He has whispered in my ear when I have needed to hear His voice. He has renewed my strength and I am soaring on eagles wings.

More about that later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Renewing. Part 2

Prior to this vacation my confidence, strength, and passion had dwindled. I was anxious for my bed in the evenings and couldn't imagine getting out of it in the mornings. I was completely burnt out!

My son came home and there was an instant rejuvenation. A piece of me that had been missing was put back into place...completing me. I enjoyed every minute with him. I cherished every smile, every hug, every word, every moment. Then..............he was gone.

The tears flowed harder than I could have imagined. I thought, somehow, it would be easier. I was so wrong. I wasn't able to take him to the airport because I had taken last week off. Probably a good thing. My mommy heart couldn't take it. I found myself at work, looking at the time anxiously. He was still in town. I could run home and keep him from leaving. I don't have to let him go back. He is my son! He belongs with me!

God's voice cut through the deceptive thoughts in my head like a knife. "Yes. He is your son. You can choose to bring him home, but you know he is better where he is."

I know, Lord. I know.

The truth of that statement set me free from the anxiety I was feeling. I steadied myself at my desk and began to do my job. The next time I glanced at the clock, my son was an hour away. There was no way to stop him. He was leaving.

I needed that reminder from God. It is my choice. It is within my power to bring my son home. However, when I made the decision to let Josh live with his dad, I did not make that decision on my own. I spent countless hours praying for God to show me His will. Then, I spent countless hours imitating Gideon. Throwing out my sheepskin over and over again. Hoping, praying, and at times, begging for God to give me a different answer. He didn't. It wasn't about me and God reminded me of that the other day as I sobbed and begged for a different answer again. He renewed my faith in Him once more as I chose to be obedient.

My son is gone.

And I've lost a daughter, too.

More about that later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Renewing. Part 1

I have so many things to write about that I'm not even sure where to begin. Do I start with 'I have never felt so refreshed and renewed' after a vacation or do I begin with 'I have been through some of the hardest days I have seen in a long time'? I choose to start with the 'refreshed-renewed' part. It's more upbeat.

Vacations are seldom 'refreshing' or 'renewing'. Usually they include major travel, masses of people, amusement park rides, food on a stick, plenty of activity, and very little rest. This vacation was different. Completely. It included minor travel, very few people, no amusement park rides, stick-less food, very little activity, and much needed rest.

We rented a cabin at a nearby lake. Sight unseen. We had heard they were really nice, but honestly had no idea. We didn't know whether our cabin even had a view of the lake. We rented it and prayed for the best. God is good. We arrived at the cabin to find that not only did we have a view of the lake, but it was located right on the lake. The scene from our deck was breath taking and permanently etched into my mind.

We spent day after day waking early to enjoy the stillness of God's creation. I spent countless hours unable to pray anything other than 'Thank you, Lord. You are sooooo amazing.' While I only spent short periods of time in His Word daily, His presence was so strong. I could feel Him in the breeze that swept through my hair. I could hear Him in the sound of the wakes crashing against the rocks. I could see Him, in all of His glory, as I looked up into the starry sky every evening. I felt so close to Him. It was incredible.

Our days were filled with giggles as grandpa took the kiddo's tubing on his boat. There were quiet moments and, well, not so quiet moments. We spent the days and evenings just enjoying uninterrupted togetherness. Friends and family stopped by and spent some days and nights with us, which made the moments even more special.

Thursday.....we had to leave. None of us wanted to. We even tried to rent the cabin for another day or two, but it had already been rented out. We came home where the hustle and bustle of every day life began immediately. I didn't have to go back to work until today and as the week drew to a close I found myself longing to be back at the lake. Longing for God to just rewind time.

As I sat last night reflecting on the week, I found that, while I was sad that vacation was officially ending, I felt completely renewed...ready to take on the world. In a sense time seemed to fly by and at the same time it seemed as though, for the first time ever, I had actually been on a vacation. Going to work this morning wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. But...........

Today was harder than I could have imagined.

More about that later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


We are leaving tomorrow for some much needed rest and relaxation! I can't begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to it. My son will be leaving for California on Aug. 18th and I'm anxious to spend some good, quality time with him and his sisters.

I finally got pictures uploaded into the computer, so I will leave these for you to look at while I am away:)

First night home with his sisters....

Don't make me 'patty slap' you, Sam!

(I may have to blog about the 'patty slap' sometime)

Yea. A whole FOOT taller than his sisters!

Oh yea. They look innocent.

(Well, Jordan doesn't. She definitely looks 'up to something' here)

That's my Jordan.

Always taking time to stop and smell the flowers:)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Been Awhile

Wow. Seems like it's been a long time since I've posted, so I thought I better get to it!

I am soooo enjoying my time with my son. He has changed so much. Not just in looks, but in attitude and personality, too. He is maturing. He is no longer the little boy who lets instruction go in one ear and out the other. He is more responsible and much better at doing what he is told. It has been a joy to have him here without any conflicts. What a blessing from God. I guess I'm going to have to make that phone call to his dad and tell him what a good job he is doing. ICK! ;)
This Sunday, after church, we will leave to go camping for a week. I cannot wait! 5 days of no T.V, no cell phones, no video games, no computer, no meetings, and no work! Just some good ole' fun in the sun. I am praying for decent weather as it has been WAY hot! It has cooled down today and I pray that this nice weather holds out. We do have an air conditioned cabin, though. YES! It still counts as camping! I like to refer to it as Camping in Comfort. I just can't fathom sleeping on the ground. Not only are there bugs and all kinds of God's not so beautiful creatures lurking on the ground, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk. I'm not quite as young as I used to be. Ahem.
Can somebody please tell me......WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO? I can't believe it's school time already! I have begun the awful task of shopping for curriculum and I am pretty sure my head is going to explode. I am stunned, as I am every year, at how many different curriculums are available for homeschoolers. Seriously. It's enough to make your head explode. I'm not exaggerating. After looking at 7,365 different curriculums, I finally make a choice.....only to find one I might like a little better. ARGH. Yea. I go through this every year! Not to mention the whole internal fight about whether I should go ahead and just put them back in public school because I don't think I'm doing this right and maybe it would be OK if the kids hung out with drug dealers because they could witness to them and bring them to Jesus. BUT....God is good and always allows some naughty kid to stroll into my path at just the right moment and I am assured once more by His 'still small voice' that I have made the right choice.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Misunderstood. Or Should I Say Mr. Understood?

Since my son is here visiting, I thought it would be fun to tell a little story about him. Yea. As if my last post wasn't enough to make him run, full speed, back to California. But...he is my child and must accept the fact, as most of my friends and family have, that anything he has ever done or said may, and most likely will, at some point, become entertainment for my blog;)

When Sam and Josh were little, they loved grilled cheese sandwiches. Almost daily they would request them for either lunch or dinner. So, one day I was in the kitchen getting ready to fix their lunch and they were sitting at the table. I wasn't sure what I was going to make and asked them if there was anything they were hungry for (Sam was about 4 years old and Josh was 3 years old). Neither of them could think of anything so I offered them their favorite...grilled cheese sandwiches. Samantha squealed in delight and wholeheartedly agreed that grilled cheese would be best for lunch. I assumed that Josh would be fine with it too.

As I began to prepare their sandwiches I heard Josh crying. I turned around and he was sitting at the table with big crocodile tears streaming down his face. I couldn't imagine what had made him so upset. I went over to him and this is the conversation that took place:

Me- "Buddy, what's wrong???"

Josh- "I don't want a grill cheese sandwich!!!" (sobbing and sniffing)

Me- "How come?"

Josh- "Because I want a BOY cheese sandwich!!" (crying)

Apparently he thought I had been saying 'girl cheese sandwich' all those times I had made them and he was getting to the age where he realized that there were distinct differences between boys and girls. NO WAY was he going to be caught eating a 'girl cheese sandwich'!

To this day, if I offer him a grilled cheese sandwich, I still call it a 'Boy cheese sandwich':)

I love you, buddy! Thanks for that awesome memory!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Armpit Hair, Adams Apples, and Febreze

My son made it home safe and sound. God is good! I cannot begin to explain the sense of relief it is to have him here. There is always a piece of me that is unsettled when he is so far away. When he is here, sleeping under the same roof, there is a comfort and sense of completeness that washes over me. Just knowing that my 'babies' are all within my reach causes my heart to swell with emotion.

I am always amazed at how much he has changed when I see him. This time, even more so. We have been apart since Christmas, 7 long months ago. This is the longest we have ever been apart and I have missed out on some pretty important things, like:

Armpit hair and his Adams Apple. I know that seems strange, but I was there when he got his very first armpit hair. It was one long hair right in the middle of his armpit. He was very careful with it because he was afraid it might get pulled out. Yesterday, when he lifted his arm, I was shocked! His whole underarm is filled with hair. Man hair. In December he was already 6ft tall, but his neck and body still resembled a 'boy'. Now, there is a clearly defined 'lump' in the middle of his neck. I noticed this while we were sitting at the airport having coffee. My poor boy. I think I said it loud enough for the entire airport to hear: "YOU HAVE AN ADAMS APPLE!" Yea. Wonder why he doesn't come home more?

Josh has always been a, how do I put this as to not offend anyone, um, 'gassy' boy? Yea. Silent but deadly is his motto. And he's proud of it. He would often walk into the living room while we were watching television and crop dust (crop dust: walking into a room. dropping a silent, smelly, fart. leaving). Then, he would go into the next room, wait for the smell to take hold, we would scream his name, and he would let out a belly laugh. It would infuriate me. Yea. As much as it hurts to see my 'baby' grow up, I was hoping this was one thing he had outgrown. Not so much.

We spent the night at my mom's last night. Samantha and I were going to sleep upstairs and Josh and Jordan were going to sleep downstairs. I had just finished reading my Bible and was getting ready to lay down when Josh came in. Apparently he misses annoying us right before bed:) He hung out with us and I took some very important pics (which will be posted soon). As he began to leave, a smell began to fill the room. I'm pretty sure I saw a hazy green fog, too. Samantha and I, simutaneously, yelled..JOSH! and, in his usual fashion, he let out his infamous belly laugh. Just like old times and I couldn't help but think.......I am really going to have to buy some more Febreze!

Monday, July 28, 2008

He's Coming Home!

My baby is coming home today. OK. So he's 6'1. He's still my baby. Always will be. He should have been here in June, but he decided to mess around in school and ended up with Summer School. He has finally finished that and is on his way home! I am so anxious to see him. I hope I recognize him because I didn't last time. He walked right by me. OOPS!

Josh knows Christ, but does not have a relationship with him right now. Of course this disturbs me greatly. I pray for him daily and my prayer now is that God will open Josh's heart while he is here. I realize that I can't make Josh have a relationship with Christ, but I pray that he will desire one. I pray that he will 'taste and see that the Lord is good'.

I will blog tomorrow and, hopefully, include some pictures.

Have I told you that I cannot wait to see him???? Yea. I think I did. BUT....


I can't.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Um. It's Official. I'm Old.

My non-blogger girlfriend, Deb, loves going to concerts. Me? Not so much. Unless it is someone I really love! Which typically translates to: just about any Christian concert where there are hands in the air praising God. Well, a few months ago we found out that Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick were playing a concert....together. HELLOOOO!!! I was a big Journey and Heart fan. Cheap Trick? Not so much. I liked 'em, but never loved 'em. Anyway, Deb asked me if I wanted to go and I thought about it and decided that I didn't want to spend the money. I would rather go see a good Worship band. Needless to say, I received an email from Deb about 4 days later.....she had bought tickets. We were going. And let me just say.................


Seriously. I was so amazed at how good these bands still sound. Heart was absolutely amazing. Anne Wilson can still belt it out like no other. You would think that after this many years of singing and touring that her voice would've changed some. You know, a crack here or there. Maybe a slightly different tone. Something! Nope. Nothing. Her voice is as beautiful now as it was when they began. When I was young, I so admired her voice. I wanted to sing just like her. Yep. Still do.

Now, Journey. Well, that went a little different. If you are a fan of Journey, then you know that Steve Perry is no longer with them. A detail that I wasn't aware of until the tickets were bought. I was not very happy about it. At all. I mean, really! Steve Perry made Journey! As the new (well, new in my world) singer began to sing I had to do a double take. He sounds exactly like Steve Perry! He's even about the same size and shape with just about the same hairstyle (complete with sideburns)! He even dresses like Steve Perry and has a lot of the same mannerism's on stage. Except.....he's Asian. Yea. It's really weird. Not weird because he is Asian, but because he looks and sounds so much like Steve Perry that you forget it's not him...until you look at the big screen and there is this Asian man singing with Steve Perry's voice. OK. Maybe you had to be there, but it was weird. Their music is so much more beautiful than I remember and Neil Schon (lead guitarist) and Jonathon Cain (guitarist/keyboardist) are such talented musicians. I guess I never realized that when I was younger. Which leads me to my next discovery..............


Here are a few tell tale signs that I am old:

1) I sat in my seat for, almost, the entire concert.
2) I yawned in between bands
3) The concert didn't end until after 11:30pm and I was worried about getting enough sleep
4) The girl sitting next to me was young enough to be my daughter and didn't know the songs
5) It was really loud!
6) We left before the headline band is done playing so we could beat traffic out of the parking lot
7) The pictures below represent more than half of the people who attended the concert:

This one is hard to see, but this is an 'older' man.
He caught me taking his pic. Oops!

Just so you know, right or wrong, I ran after this guy to get this pic!

(He had a cane. I had to! Don't judge me!)

BFF's (not 'old' people;)

Thanks for the tickets, Deb. I so enjoyed our time together....... reminiscing about the 'old' days when we were 'hecka cool'.

I love ya!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bloggin' Mama and Daughter

My daughter now has a blog, too!!!! I am sooo excited:)
Please click here to say "Hi" to her.

I am soooo pleased to announce this:


I have been asking (begging) her to blog, but secretly never thought she would. Well, once again, my mom has surprised me with her willingness to move into this electronic age. We even set up a myspace for her last week. Yea. She is the 'hippist' grandma I know!

So, please click here and welcome her to the community. I know she would be thrilled to hear from you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Butterfly Effect

The strangest thing happened at work today. As I sat at my desk, where I had been sitting all day, a butterfly appeared. He was white with just a spattering of green. I was on the phone with a client when he seemed to appear from nowhere. He began flying over my desk and I was simply in awe. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out where he had come from as no doors or windows are open. He finally made his way over to the large picture window in the front of my office. He was looking for a way out.

I went over to the window and pulled up the blinds. I wanted to help him get out, but didn't want to touch his wings. I placed my hand just under his tiny body and he landed directly on my finger. As I moved away from the window he panicked and flew back towards, what he believed was, the outside. He was consistently ramming the glass looking for a way out. Time after time he would land on my hand and as soon as I took him away from the glass, he would panic.

As this process repeated itself I thought of God. How many times has He had me in His hand trying to lead me the right way only to have me panic and go back to my comfort zone? The butterfly was convinced that his only way out was to go through this window because he could see the outside. He saw what was familiar to him and he was afraid to let me lead him into the unfamiliar, even though I could lead him in the way that I knew was right for him. That's me. There are times I am just too afraid to leave the glass. I see the way that is familiar and it looks right. No matter how many times God gives me His hand, I continue to jump off.

After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally cupped the butterfly in my hand (loosely) and made my way to the door. As I prepared to open the door he took off again. He flew to the frosted glass on the door itself. As I reached to scoop him up......he was gone. I have no idea where he went. I have looked for him everywhere in my office and he is nowhere to be found. He disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared and I sit here wondering......was that You, God?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Did He Say?

By now most of my friends and family have come to realize that anything they say can and will be used as entertainment on my blog. Sorry Heather.

During VBS last week, Jordan, Pastor Brett, Heather, and I were sitting together having dinner and chatting. Their youngest daughter, Alexia, who is only 5 months, was a little fussy. So, Pastor Brett, being the loving, doting, husband and father he is made some snarky little comment like: "Great. Now I have two neurotic women in my house." Yea. Pastors! Humph!

Heather, who was busy taking care of little fussy britches...along with their other 3 daughters, while her husband ate and made snarky comments, somehow missed the conversation. She asked what Brett had said and my daughter promptly replied:

"He said now he has two erotic women living in his house!"

Um. Yea. That's close.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

God Is Speaking

Every so often I read a post that just speaks so loud and clear that I know God is speaking to me. Today, I have read three of them.

Kelly at Just1Reason has been posting about a journey God has had her on. She has just posted part 3, so please make sure and begin at part 1....The Road To Emmaus.

Pete at Without Wax is on a Missions Trip in the Dominican Republic. Pete's wife, Brandi at Brandiandboys, puts things into real perspective in her post today.

The reason I am linking to these blogs are because they have all struck a cord within me. They are different, yet the same. I guess they are about getting down to the basics......the Love of Christ. Sharing it. Showing it. Spreading it.

God has been walking me down a path for a couple of months. Not sure where it's going yet, but I know He is changing me. He is changing the way I see things. He is giving me desires that I have never desired before. He is speaking.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Know Your Folks Are Getting Old When....

During the summer my kiddo's and I frequently eat with my folks. They live directly behind us and my dad is truly 'King of the Grill'. When he grills hamburgers, he usually grills a dozen at a time so all we have to do is pop one in the microwave and Voila! Instant dinner.

So, the other night the kiddo's and I popped over for supper and began the normal chaotic dance that ensues when we all try to squeeze into the kitchen at the same time. One by one we microwaved our patties and prepared our buns (hamburger buns, that is:).

As we sat in the living room talking and enjoying the food and company, my youngest daughter, Jordan, got up and went to the kitchen for something. When she came back in she asked: "Who left their hamburger in the microwave?" My mom, dad, Sam, and I all responded the same: "Not me." I looked around and everyone had their hamburger. As a matter of fact......everyone was almost done with their burger. We couldn't figure out how in the world an extra burger got in the we only warm them up one at a time. Yea. I don't know why. We just do.

Just when I began to get very puzzled, I heard my dad say: "OH! It's mine!"

OK, he must've made two. That's not unusual.

Then it hit me as I glanced over and saw him digging through his onions and tomato.

He forgot the meat!

Here is my dad, sifting through his half eaten bun, that he was REALLY enjoying!

Yea. You know your folks are getting old when they make a hamburger with everything except........well........the hamburger.

Love you, dad!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's VBS at our church this week which stands for VERY BUSY SERVANTS! :) Seriously, I LOVE VBS. It's so awesome to see so many kids learning verses and singing praises to God.

Typically VBS is for K-6th grade, but this year our youth director decided to create a Jr. High VBS. It's called The Challenge and it's awesome! They created an obstacle course complete with a wall they have to scale and a moat they have to jump. Since it rained on Monday and Tuesday there was lots of mud and the kiddo's are LOVIN' it!

One of the things that we, the leaders, were supposed to be looking for was team work and we have been blessed to see LOTS of it! It's amazing to watch these kids help each other over the wall and through the various courses. Yesterday some of the kids even carried their friends across the moat when they couldn't make the jump. It was truly inspiring. I can't help but think of the friends who carried their paralytic friend up to the roof and lowered him down to Jesus through a hole when they couldn't get close enough. Incredible.

I will try to post pics this weekend or early next week!

Please keep the kids and workers in your prayers. Of course, Satan is hard at work this week. There has been lots of illness (my entire family and I included) and obstacles. One more day to go! Lives are being changed! God is GOOD!!!!! :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Letting Go. Part 972.

Samantha arrived home from her Missions Trip in Colorado. Thank you for your prayers! God heard them and there were blessings abound!

Timberline Lodge is where they worked and stayed. It is nestled in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. Not only is it a lodge, but it is also a Bible College. Many of the 'former' teens from our church attended Timberline prior to making a decision about which 'formal' college they would attend. Since Timberline has blessed so many of our youth, our Youth Director, Connie, decided it was time to bless them. 5 adults and 9 teens worked from sun up to sun down to get many, various projects completed. The staff at Timberline was amazed at the amount they accomplished for such a small group and everybody's health was PERFECT!

In addition to working, the teens were also challenged both physically and Spiritually. One of the physical challenges was a 5 mile hike. Now, Samantha is not 'outdoorsy'. She is like her mom. And frankly, the thought of a 5 mile hike scared her. However, when she was one of her favorite things about the trip. She made it. She was one of the last ones to the top, but she made it and she felt good about it! She said that the pain of the hike was worth the reward of accomplishing it! (YES! :) She brought an application back home with her and very much plans on attending Timberline after high school. This had already been her plan, but this trip confirmed her desire.

She didn't miss me. As a matter of fact, she was sad to be home and I came to a realization: She is spreading her wings in preparation to fly. The little girl who used to ask if she could live with me forever, who used to call me crying when she would spend a night away from me, is now a young woman who is anxiously awaiting the day she begins a new chapter in her life.....without me.

The mom in me is torn. I am so happy for her as I truly thought she would never leave my side, but I am so sad because I truly thought she would never leave my side. My heart aches with pain and swells with joy at the same time. What an honor to be her mom. What a privilege to watch her grow up. What a struggle to let her go. I fight the urge to not make her feel guilty when she seems ecstatic to leave and go to college. Sometimes I lose that battle. I don't mean to. I just can't help it.

Have I told you lately.....................

(Yea. I know. Only about 972 times!)

I love her soooo much, yet He loves her more. I can't imagine. And the one thing that gives me nothing but pure joy is to know that she is leaving me to serve Him. Before she knew Him....she wanted to live with me forever. Before she knew Him......she was scared of everything. He has given her strength, hope, and, whether she realizes it or not, confidence. It's because of Him she feels as though she can fly. And...........

It's because of Him I will feel more joy than pain when the time comes for me to truly let go.

You are soooo good!

Monday, July 7, 2008

We ARE The Body

One thing I failed to mention in my previous posts of moldy carpet and hidden treasure is the fact that I also had a slight mental breakdown. As I was investigating my basement/family room, I went into our workshop area and found 'fungus/fungi' growing on the walls. I called my friend, Heather, and she came over to investigate. She had never seen anything like it....neither had I. It resembled lasagne (Yea. It will be a while before I eat that again!) and it was bulging out of the wall. I felt overwhelmed. My gutters needed cleaned, my garbage disposal died, there was a leak by my chimney and it felt like the house was going to fall down around me. My exact words to her were: "I just want to cry!"

Heather called me the next day to see how I was doing. I was fine. The realization that God is the Head of my household had sunk in and although I knew it would take some time, everything would get taken care of. Shortly after we got off the phone Pastor Brett, Heather's husband, called me. He said that I probably wouldn't be happy, but he had organized the men of our small group to come to my house and work on some of the issues. I began to protest that there were people who needed help more than me, but Brett was having none of it. They would be there Sunday and I needed to get a list ready.

Yesterday, at 2pm, they showed mom included. Mold....GONE! Gutters....CLEANED! Gutters that were missing.....HUNG! Leak....STOPPED! It was amazing! These men and women, who I am so blessed to call brothers and sisters, jumped into the raging waters and calmed the sea for me. AND.......after all of that work, Brett and Heather opened their home and fed us. We had an awesome time of fellowship. I was overwhelmed by the genorosity, love, and support of these dear friends. So often we speak of the body of Christ and what it should look like, but when you see it, it leaves you breathless.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Thank you for your service!
We love you!
Please take a moment and pray for the men and women
who have risked EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Unnoticed Treasure

Treasure to trash in 2.3 seconds!

Yea. I know. It should be trash to treasure. However, when you think you have a beautiful stone floor only to find out that it is extremely dirty linoleum layed over then becomes treasure to trash. Although, there was some nifty gold-glitter-polish-like stuff on parts of the floor (insert eye roll here). So, my floor didn't turn out to be quite what I thought it was. Disappointed? Yes. However, the wet, moldy, smelly carpet is out of her bedroom and that in itself is a treasure. She's happy and I'm happy.

However, God did bless me with some real treasure this morning. My phone rang before 7am. I looked at the caller ID and almost didn't answer it. I am ashamed to admit it, but the person who was calling is someone who I struggle with sometimes. She means well and her heart is good, but there is always something. Due to the hour of the morning I decided to answer it in case there was an emergency. It wasn't an emergency, but this dear woman was crying. She had been buying a lie that the devil was feeding her. She didn't feel she was adequate enough. Apparently I said something that encouraged her and she wanted to thank me. She also expressed thanks to me for the work I do with the youth and told me how much she admired me. I gave the glory to God as He humbled me first thing this morning. I am so undeserving of this woman's praise. We chatted a bit, I encouraged her, and she asked me for some prayer time. We prayed on the phone together and I could feel the Holy Spirit surround me. It was an amazing time of fellowship with a sister. God opened my heart and my eyes and allowed me to see a treasure that I had allowed to go unnoticed.

Thank you, Lord for early morning blessings and a lesson in humility!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hidden Treasure

With all of the rain we have received in the Midwest, it seems my basement may never recover. While I am fortunate that my basement did not flood, it has definitely not been dry either. My basement is finished (for the most part) and has carpet. As you probably already know- carpet+water= MOLD.

My daughter, Amber, has her bedroom in the basement and her floor has been soaked for the better part of a month. She called me today and asked if she could remove the carpet from her room. I was slightly apprehensive because I had no idea what shape the floor was in. However, I decided that whatever shape the floor was in, it had to be better than wet/moldy carpet. Yea. I'm smart that way. We talked about a couple of different ideas of what we could do. Should we paint? Lay tile? I told her to just get the carpet up and out and we would deal with the rest later.

Shortly after our conversation Amber called me again. She said: "Mom! Our floor is NOT concrete!" OK. I was extremely nervous at that point! If it was hardwood, then it had to be completely ruined. I asked her what it was and she said they were small stones. Like the kind you use to cover a patio. She sent me a picture from her phone and let me just tell is sooooo cute! Who knew???

The black stuff is glue from the carpet. My house isn't that dirty. My daughter reported back to me and said that the glue is coming off and the stone is an off-white and resembles marble:)

It just goes to show you........

You never know what kind of treasure lies beneath the surface. Sometimes it's finding cute little stones underneath carpet and sometimes it's looking past the surface of a person to find a friendship or love worth more than gold. Appearances are deceiving. I believe there is treasure beneath the surface of every person and every circumstance. Sometimes it's hidden. Sometimes it's revealed immediately. Sometimes that treasure is a little rough around the edges and requires us to use some extra TLC to make it shine. That's me. I am a little rough around the edges, but God continues to cleanse me with His TLC because He desires to see me shine. He desires to see YOU shine. If you can't see the treasure of who you are or the circumstance you are in.....wait. He's not done with you yet. God is the Refiner. The Refiners ultimate goal is to see His reflection in His finished work.

Thank you, Lord for this little gift today and for reminding me that we are Your treasure.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prayer Please.

I know I have already posted today, but I need to request prayer for a couple of things and I know you will pray, because you are such awesome friends!

My daughter, Sam, is home from California. She arrived Wednesday! She will be leaving tomorrow, June 28th, for a Missions Trip to Colorado. This is going to be an amazing trip for the teens and leaders who are going. I know this because Satan is doing everything possible to mess it up. There has been physical and Spriritual ailments abound.

Also, I don't want to go into a lot of detail yet, but I am requesting prayer for myself. I am needing some wisdom about how to handle a situation. It is a situation that there really isn't going to be a 'happy ending' to. At least not right now. Please pray that the decision I make will be based on God's Will....not my emotions. It is a decision that will affect the lives of the people I love the most.


Please leave me a comment letting me know how I can pray for YOU! I appreciate your prayers more than you can know. Please allow me to return the favor.

God's Sense of Humor

Last year the girls, my dad, and I took a road trip to California for my son's 8th grade graduation. It was a great trip and it was good to be back in the Bay Area for a visit.

We rolled into Reno, Nevada very late. I always get excited when we get to Reno because I know that we are just a few hours from 'home'. It is also quite a sight to go from a dark, desolate highway into a small town exploding with lights and action. It's as if you have stepped into another world. None of my children had ever seen Reno, so I tried to wake them up. The only one I could rouse out of a coma was my eldest daughter, Sam. She was pretty impressed with all the lights. She also knew that Reno was known as a 'party' town because of all the casino's and general 'naughtiness' that typically permeates the city.

As we were driving there was a small car in front of us that ran a red light. They were traveling at a pretty good speed considering we were in the heart of town. My dad and I were commenting on this person's questionable driving skills when Sam piped up out of the backseat with: 'He's probably drunk!' Immediately I went into Christian mom mode: 'Samantha! You shouldn't judge people like that. Maybe something's wrong and he's in a hurry. Just because we're in Reno doesn't mean everybody who does something wrong is drunk!'

Just as I am completing the last part of that sentence we pull up next to the same guy who is now sitting at a red light. As we look over to see who this crazy driver is, I can't believe my eyes! This man, who I have just tried desperately to defend, is guzzling a beer! Which, of course, prompted my humble-teenager-who-already-thinks-she-knows-everything to laugh hysterically while chanting 'I told you so!' Yea. Thanks guy.

Here I was, trying to do the right thing. Trying to teach my daughter a valuable lesson in judging others and it fell apart right before my eyes. As I rolled my eyes towards Heaven, in complete rebellious teenager fashion, I felt like Jerry Maguire: "Help me, help You God!!" I believe God has an awesome sense of humor. I also believe that I may have been the butt of his joke that night. Hmmm. :)