Sunday, September 28, 2008

A few thoughts...

I feel myself taking a deep breath on the eve of a new week. It has been a great weekend with my family. I have received some much needed sleep and a chance to really clean my house. I have now completely unpacked from Africa and from Abilene and have done all the laundry. The clothes are even put up! I have also enjoyed some sweet time just being with my wonderful husband. He is my BEST friend!

Work is extremely busy right now. I have a full case load and it seems that every minute is planned. Some of the situations that I am aware of and working in the midst of right now are very heavy. In between work, Randy and I continue to juggle getting our 4 precious treasures to their various places during the day. I am so thankful that they are enjoying school and it is not somewhere they have to be talked into going.

Being in Abilene last week was really special. I loved having the opportunity to share our story and to remember how the Lord was in the details and that his plan was so much bigger than what we ever imagined. Tonight as my heart feels heavy and I am anticipating various potential events during this week, it is good to remember that the Lord is near. He asks us to bring every anxious thought to him because he cares. Lord lead the way into this week. Direct my thoughts and show me how to prioritize my time. You alone are the Source for everything I need.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Great Book!

It keeps happening! Great books are sent my way and then I get to pass on to you something that you simply MUST READ!!! I have seriously enjoyed this book. It is a quick easy read and I have enjoyed carrying it around with me the past few weeks and grabbing every free minute (there are not many) to absorb the words of this book!

One of my favorite quotes, " A remarkable performance creates curiousity. It makes others wonder about our commitment, passion,and excellence; and it opens doors for conversation about the remarkable Source we draw from!"

Everyone wants to make a difference in the world, but most have no idea how to maximize their impact. In The Encore Effect, best-selling author and leadership expert Mark Sanborn provides the answer. He leads readers in six practices that will move them beyond excellence to distinction and from mundane to memorable. These principles guide readers to draw on their passion and devote themselves to preparation, practice, presentation, polishing, and finally, avoiding pitfalls. When readers follow these principles they will find that people are attracted to them. More importantly, they’ll find that they now have an influence over others that can impact lives for eternity.

I have one free copy to give away. Leave a comment about why you think you could benefit from receiving this book and I just might send it your way!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our family has been sweetly reunited! There is happiness in our home.

I am presently working on my talks for the ACU Lectures next week. I will be speaking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 8:30. I am going to be sharing about adoption and specifically about how real life adoption stories remind us that we are God's Adopted Children. I will be sharing our adoption journey over the three days. I would love it if you would remember this in your prayers this week as I am preparing and next week as I share. Our journey has been an amazing walk with the Lord. He has led us gently on this path and we see his glory. I want others to see it! It is my prayer that people will see the Lord and that this testimony will cause all who hear to trust him more. He is in every detail even when our eyes cannot see!! Wait on him. He is faithful.
Expect Blessing!

Monday, September 15, 2008

On our way out...

The night we were leaving Benin, we decided to have an ice cream supper at one of favorite has been 10 days since these pictures and that means 10 days without my husband!! We have all missed him so much. As I type he is in the air somewhere between Cotonou Benin and Paris. We will welcome him home tomorrow night and we can't wait!! Families were meant to be together!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Men of Faith

This picture means so much to me! These guys are all former teammates, original members of the Aja team that we joined back in 1996. Pictured here are Jim Kennell, Murphy Crowson, Greg Bailey and Randy Vaughn. Our friendships go even farther back than 1996. In many ways we have grown up together and seen each other through incredibly difficult times. This picture speaks of God's faithfulness and those of you who know us, know exactly what I mean. It is just so amazing that they have all been together this week going deeper into the Word of God with the Aja leaders...God is good...makes me think of Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Time with the Crowsons

The last 2 days of our trip we spent with the Crowson family. They are great friends of ours, former teammates, and now supported by Richland Hills! We enjoyed alot of time laughing and catching up on each other's lives. Our kids had a blast, swimming and playing in the sand...that is Matthew Crowson buried in the sand! And they enjoyed some time playing in the rain. The Crowsons are nearing the end of their time in Togo and are in the midst of preparing to move to Rwanda at the end of this year. We are so thankful that the Lord keeps bringing our paths together.

Our African Family

The following pictures are the mother, brothers, sisters and children that welcomed us into their lives when we left our own back in 1999...our bonds are deep...the reunion was sweet and immediate...not a minute wasted! Precious time. The first night we arrived, we went to our hotel, had dinner, took showers and went to bed. Not 10 minutes later, Laurance called and said she was downstairs in the lobby. We all 4 got up, dressed and headed downstairs for a wonderful 2 hour visit! I have missed Laurance SO much. I have ached for her friendship and my kids have missed her daily presence in their lives as well. What a blessing to be with her again!

These three children are Lael's full siblings..our time was so sweet with them!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Picking up where we left off...

Click on images to see pictures in greater detail!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tori and Timothy

These 2 are so much fun and they really enjoy each other so much! They were great company and travel partners. Here are a few scenes from last week. Be sure to click on the collage and make it larger. I am trying to share pictures every day because we have so many. At some point I will share more thoughts from the journey. I am processing daily in my mind and it is all so good! There will be updates on Village of Hope coming soon as well. Good stories and great needs. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Boy and His Dog

For Timothy, going to Benin meant to him an opportunity to see Booker. Since our return I have heard him say more than once that his favorite thing about last week was that he got to see Booker. It was so sweet to observe this reunion. Timothy loved playing with Booker and just sitting with him for awhile. This is a very special dog who actually saved Timothy's life when he was 2. Timothy was in the yard with Sossa and heard the dogs barking and ran towards the dogs. We had 2 at the time. The dogs were actually trying to catch a snake that was in our grass. Just as Timothy was approaching (unaware)the black necked spitting cobra, Booker lunged in front of him and grabbed the snake with his teeth. He and our other dog Sparkle killed the snake and Timothy never knew what had happened. I witnessed the entire thing and Timothy has heard the story many times. Perhaps this is why he feels such a special bond with our beloved Superdog Booker. We have missed him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Can't Keep My Eyes Open Any Longer !

This moment captured last week expresses exactly how I am feeling tonight!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Just a glimpse...

I am wondering now how I will put into words the amazing experiences of the past week. I assure you I will find a way!! Here are a few pictures! Come back later in the week to hear more about the trip and see more pictures.We have so many! The Lord is good and we experienced his grace and kindness over and over again. Our friends in Benin are doing well and stronger in their faith...this is a wonderful encouragement to our family.