Sunday, April 27, 2008

Great weekend

This has been a wonderful weekend. The batteries were dead in my camera so I have no pictures to show for it..oh well. Yesterday I attended a board meeting for Christian Homes and Family Services and last night a reception for them as well. This is where I work. I love being a part of this Agency. Most of you probably already know that I work with Birth mothers who are making adoption plans for their infant children and I also do home studies for families that are desiring to adopt through Christian Homes and that live here in the DFW area. When I am not doing this, I take every opportunity to speak, inform, and educate about adoption, wherever I can find a listening ear. I love to share about the courage and sacrifice that I witness in the lives of the birth mothers. I also love counseling women and girls that are finding themselves in unplanned difficult circumstances and are needing help and hope in what are sometimes desperate moments. This job is incredibly rewarding and yesterday was a great day of meeting people here in this area that share the same heart for Christian Homes.
Today Randy and I woke up and had the joy of realizing we had no plans for the day!! We did some house cleaning and then took our whole family to Cabelas! This is something that we had talked about doing before and today was a great day to go, it was too cool to play outside...we ended up spending 3 hours there and we all were having a great time! We all enjoyed the Aquarium and viewing all of the other animals..and lunch was great too. We came home, we all took good naps, ate dinner and then went on a long walk through the neighborhood with our dog!
Lots of laughter and enjoying each other today....I think I have loved just about every minute. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A little bit of life

Last Friday, Tori's class took a Field Trip to tour the Texas Ranger Stadium. Her Dad took the opportunity to go with her. She was thrilled to have him along for the experience. They had a great day together!

Saturday morning we hosted our first ever garage sale! We did this together with families from our small group through our church. We were raising money for a project called Share the Joy. All of the money from the garage sale will go towards helping someone in our community who is in need and will be given in the name of Jesus. The day was truly a blessing from start to finish. We raised alot of money and as people came and asked us what we were raising money for, they too became generous and wanted to participate...we are all eagerly anticipating how the Lord will direct us as we share these funds with someone in need.

Timo and I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart this afternoon and when he saw the Bull, he insisted that he needed to ride, he had been really demonstrating good behavior today so I thought I would say yes...we were both anticipating a bit more of an active ride. I think he thought it was only slightly the fun he had imagined. He was bracing himself when he slipped the quarters in and got his one hand high in the air, ready to perhaps be thrown to the other side of the store...instead he discovered this bull was a so slow he could be used for rocking babies...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We have a Winner!



Jessica, I know your heart is strong for the Lord and He is at work in you.
I pray this book will bless you and challenge you to trust Him even more as you follow him. The path you are choosing is hard but it is SO worth it. You are honoring the Lord. He SEES you. He will honor your choices to follow him. Keep seeking Him and you will experience more than you can ask or imagine. That is HIS promise! Expect blessing Jessica!
Have your parents send me your address in an email and I will get this book in the mail to you immediately!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Moments with my children

As always, Tori and I enjoy doing fun things together. Last weekend we had fun trying to coordinate our clothing!! We both had found some fun shoes that were available in both of our sizes, at Payless and we wanted to wear we searched our closets and found some clothes we already had that coordinated...I LOVE TORI so much I can hardly stand it!!!

We have loved having some beautiful weather this past week so that we can play in the back yard. The kids found a ladybug and had so much fun watching her, losing her, looking for her and finding her over and over again. Not sure how we know if it is a her...

My sweet Timothy will be 5 years old next month!! That is amazing! His birth is such a mile marker in my life of God doing a new thing in my heart...I love thinking about his birth and the joy that surrounded his life entering ours...He was our heart's desire. We are into party planning and birthday anticipation these days in conversations with Timo!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I grew up in a Christian family. I was taught the Bible and I always had a desire to love and serve the Lord. Even so, somehow that love was best demonstrated at church or on summer mission trips. My relationship with the Lord was compartmentalized for church moments and often at other times outside of church, I found myself wrestling on my own with things that would have surprised those who only knew me in the church setting.
The summer before I entered my Junior year of college, things began to click in a new and deeper way. I found myself falling in love with my Lord. I found myself surrendering everything in my heart to Him. When I look back at my journals and at the Bible that was my constant companion during that season of life, I see the cries of my heart were, "Lord, I will do anything for you. Send me to a hard place. If no one else is willing, I am willing." I have a quote cut from a magazine glued in the front of my Bible that says, "Never do anything that anyone else can do or will do if there are things to be done that others can't do or won't do." That became my mission. Find where the hard places are and go. At that time in my life this lead me to different places in Africa every summer during my college years, on 2 occasions to Mozambique during a civil war. I remember moments of fear and then moments of trust and courage that came when I took that step and placed my life in the Lord's hands. Even at that young age, the Lord allowed me to experience some amazing things and let me experience his presence in powerful ways that let me know with solid assurance that he was with me.

It is with these things in my mind my attention was drawn to a new book that has just been released by Multnomah Books. It is written by Alex and Brett Harris and is called DO HARD THINGS . The subtitle is A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. When asked to review this book I was thrilled with the opportunity. This book was an easy read, one I could not put down as I read about teenagers who are serious about putting into action what God has called their hearts to do right now...not just assuming what they will do for God later when they "grow up"!! I was greatly encouraged to read stories about teenagers who are stepping out in faith to do things that are so far beyond what is expected of them in our culture. As they do this, they are finding God is faithful to equip them with everything they need along the way.

With over 10 million hits to their website, Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God.
Written when they were 18 years old, DO HARD THINGS is the Harris twins’ revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential. Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life and map a clear plan for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact.
Written by teens for teens, DO HARD THINGS is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of revolution already in progress challenges the next generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today.

I would love to encourage you to recognize people in the comments who have stepped out in faith to DO HARD THINGS for the glory of God. Please note especially if they were teenagers when they stepped out in faith. When asked to review the book, I was given a copy to give away on this blog. Please take the time to nominate someone you think would be challenged and encouraged by receiving a copy of this great book!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Recent Moment with a Dear Friend

My friend Judy Miller.........when I think about her my heart is so full...I have so many sweet memories of our times and conversations together in Benin......
She came to Benin as a Missionary for the Southern Baptist one week after we arrived in Benin in March of 1999.
She lived in Cotonou Benin, the capital city and served in the role of Business facilitator for the Southern Baptist missionaries. Over the years she became known as the goto person for all missionaries in Benin, when there was a need or a crisis. We had to go to the capital city at least once a month, sometimes more, for shopping, medical care, banking and sometimes for fellowship with other missionary friends. I remember seeing Judy around in that first year but not really having the opportunity to really know her. The first time that I have a memory of a conversation with Judy came when I was in desperate need for some help. It was August 2000 and Randy had malaria. He was having a severe reaction to the medication that he had been given. The reaction was worse than the malaria. He had been receiving the meds through an IV for 4 days before we realized that the reaction was from the meds. He had hives from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and had scratched them so much that he was bleeding all over his body. He had not been able to sleep in 3 days and I had not either. Tori was 2 years old at the time. I was under supreme stress and had packed our things in the middle of the night, thinking that we might be leaving for the States. As soon as their was enough light to begin our 3 hour journey to Cotonou, I got a very sick Randy into the car, as well as toddler Tori and drove straight into Cotonou and went to Judy's office. I went to her because I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I remember walking into her office, sitting down and pouring out the details of our circumstances to her. I remember her saying, "I have some thoughts on what we can do, who we can call, but first let me pray with you." She took my hand across her desk and began to pray. As soon as we were done praying she picked up the phone and put me in touch with people who could give me wise counsel and help me make a decision about what to do next. From this time on, Judy and I began a journey into a deeper friendship that sustained us both through many hardships.

As I reflect on the entire story of life in Benin, Judy is a part of it all. There is not a season of our life in Benin that Judy was not a part of. She has heard of every major event or experience that we ever walked through and often she was the first person that we called. Judy knew the people in our lives. She knew our life well and I think it would be safe to say that she is the one person who would know and understand the best what our daily life involved over the span of our time in Benin. She was a friend who I could laugh and pray with. She was a friend who could always challenge me and help me gain perspective. I remember a time as well that we were in a large group and she was aware of something miraculous that we had experienced, she leaned over to me and said, "If you do not get up and share your testimony, the rocks are going to cry out." She came to our home and we went to hers. There were times over the years I would drive 3 hours just to have lunch with her and then turn around and come home. One time when I was in the hospital with malaria and Randy could not stay with me because he was caring for Tori, Judy spent several nights with me in the hospital. Judy was consistent. She opened her home to us and welcomed us like we were family. Every Christmas that we were in Benin, we went to her house for a Christmas party and she would let Tori, and eventually our other children as we had them, decorate her tree. This was something that we looked so forward to every year. Most everyone that came to visit over the years met Judy and could see how very much she meant to us.

Saying goodbye to Judy last July was very painful. We said goodbye in Benin. Since then she has moved to Mali, West Africa. We are still in touch and my heart turns even more often to prayer for Judy now that we are here and she is still there. I am writing all this to explain why recently when she came to America for a little over a week so that she could speak at a Missions' Conference, I flew to Nashville to spend a few short hours with her. Not just anyone could motivate me to make a daytrip to Nashville, but for Judy Miller, there was no hesitation. I would do anything I could possibly think to do to encourage this friend of mine. We had lunch together, laughed a lot, shared our hearts, did a tiny bit of shopping and prayed together in a Waffle House parking lot...real deal friends. I was so blessed to be with her again. Rich moments...all because of Jesus Christ.
To say I'm thankful, seems not enough.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tonight was a very special night at Richland Hills. This was the night for all the babies born and adopted in the year 2007 to be blessed and dedicated to the Lord. Lael was legally adopted into our family on March 20, 2007. She was in our home and hearts on August 19, 2005...but the legal paperwork says March 20, 2007. Countless prayers from this church were a part of the labor and love that brought her legally into our family and back to America. Because of this, tonight was a precious memory to add to our collection. We arrived at church early for a reception for all of the children and their parents. The elders were there and mingled among us with words of blessing, encouragement and moments of prayer. One of our favorites,(we have lots of favorites)Phil Martin prayed for Lael. He knows our family well and actually took the time to pray over each one of us. The atmosphere was truly special...lots of love and hugs! Lael knew the evening was special and took every opportunity to smile, skip, jump and smile some more. She is really excited about her new Bible! And we are excited about being in a church that is intentional about blessing our children and surrounding us with love and support as we raise our children to know God and follow hard after Him. How blessed we are!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Live life with Faith

Best Friends who had an incredible weekend at the retreat!
Thank you Lord for this opportunity for Tori to be challenged,affirmed,blessed and have a blast at the same time! We are so thankful for all the adults that gave generously of their time to share their testimony and to encourage our Tori and others to live a life of faith without fear!!