Monday, April 30, 2012

New Horizons

It's that time of year again. Time to clean out the spare bedroom... Time to stock up the fridge... Time to dig out the Russian/English (or Latvian/English) dictionary... Time to host an Eastern European orphan for the summer! New Horizons has their new summer listing up. They need 120 host families to sign up before Friday, May 4. (Ahem! That's THIS Friday, May 4.) There are kids with scholarships. There are sibling groups. There are teens. There are sweet faces hoping for a chance to be a part of a normal family for one blissful summer vacation. Can you help? For more information, go here. I have one more request... If you do host an orphan this summer, would you please email me your experience. I'd love to share it here. Thanks!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Forced to Bond


Great stuff.

I'm all for it.

One-on-one time spent with your kids...

Getting to know them better...

Listening to their dreams...

Running your fingers through their hair...

Combing out lice.


Soooo not fun.

Post script: We've found vinegar rinses to work really well at killing the eggs -- more natural too!


We don't have a TV, so I "miss out" on many things. This commercial you may have already seen. I just saw it for the first time. It's message? The days may be long and the work unending, but when it's all said and done, mothers are the trainers of champions.

Here's to all moms around the world and the often unnoticed work they do. Keep it up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hearing God's Voice

Many people believe that God is somewhere out there in that wide expanse of space. They may think He only watches us from a distance, as Bette Midler's 1990 hit "From a Distance" implies.

However, God wants more than that. He wants a close and personal relationship with each of us. He longs for us to talk to Him as often as we speak to those around us. He has great things in store for us, but we have to communicate with Him in order to know what it is.

So often we want to shoot off our laundry list of needs for Him to take care of for us. We don't take the time to listen to what He may want to tell us. We don't take the time to find out the plans He wishes to share with us.

I like the blog "A Place Called Simplicity" because the writer, Linny, is such a powerful woman of God. She is a homeschooling mom of eleven kids, yet she still takes MAKES the time to commune with her Heavenly Father on a daily basis. And, wow, has He led her down some incredible roads!

Recently, she wrote a series called "How to Hear God Speak." I read the complete series in one sitting and it really spoke to my heart. I have been praying and seeking God in a more real and powerful way since then. I really wish the same blessing for you.

Please take a moment to go here. Then click on her "Faith" page (up at the top of the "Home" page) and scroll down to the title "How to Hear God Speak." Your prayer life will be the better for it.

Blessings to you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Read Between the Lines...

Somewhere in this great, big country a little girl's fears are masked by the make-up of a young woman.

Somewhere in this great, big country a young lady prepares to face the world alone.

Somewhere in this great, big country a foster child will become an adult and emancipate.

Somewhere in this great, big country a family is praying they will be able to intervene in time.

Somewhere in that great, big expanse of Heaven, our Heavenly Father holds the answer to how or if the paths of these individuals will intersect.

That's all I can say...

for now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lucky, 9-1-1, and God

Mom!! Dad!!! There's a FIRE on OUR property!!!

Saturdays, for us, are usually quiet, relaxing days. We go to church in the morning. We have a special lunch either at home or with family and/or friends. Sometimes all the church families enjoy a time of fellowship by eating together at the church. After lunch, we enjoy a nature walk, Bible-study game, or simply sit around singing praises to God together. Sometimes we visit and sing for those confined to convalescent hospitals or who can't leave their homes. All-in-all Saturdays are usually pretty relaxed, where the main focus is spending time with God and family, NOT crossing things off our to-do lists. We call these days, "Sabbath," as in a weekly time of rest and remembrance.

The key word is "usually."

This Saturday was a little different. There was noise. There were sirens. There was heart-pounding, adrenaline-rushing excitement in the air.

But first I must tell you about Lucky.

In January, Nikki turned 10. (I still can't believe it, but it's true.) We promised her a dog from the animal shelter, there are a surplus of stray animals in our little town. That was three months ago. This Friday, God took care of that problem for us when a stray black-and-white puppy showed up at our school.

Meet Lucky.

He's sweet, calm, obedient, patient with the kids, and as perfect a puppy as a family could ask for. He's also a flea-bitten and mangy, but we adore him!!!

On Saturday, I told the kids we would not be going to anyone’s house for lunch after church, even if invited. Instead, we would come straight home to spend time getting to know our new dog. Everyone agreed.

After lunch, the three younger girls headed outside while Shawn, Billy, Andie, and I talked and lingered over dessert. Suddenly, Nikki burst through the door shouting, “Fire! There’s a fire on our property!”

Shawn and Andie dashed outside to fill buckets and douse the flames creeping steadily towards our house. I called 9-1-1, then joined the bucket brigade. Smoke filled the air, making breathing difficult. Nikki, Alyssa, and Maya became increasingly concerned each time we disappeared into the haze to dump water on the flames. “Be careful!” they shouted, then cheered when we safely re-emerged.

Shortly before the fire fighters arrived I stopped to survey the scene. My gaze was directed toward flames inching nearer some kind of a meter by the house. “I should probably get those,” I mused.

Not surprisingly, the fire fighters were much more efficient at extinguishing the fire with their full-powered water hoses. The fire was put out quickly, leaving only blackened ground and charred tree trunks. While packing up their gear, one of the fire fighters shook his head and commented that we were lucky the fire didn’t get any closer to that gas meter on the hill.

Gas meter?!

Later that night I had a little difficulty falling asleep. Random thoughts, questions, and a multiplicity of scenarios tumbled through my head. Would God send us a mangy, stray dog just to protect our home from a fire He knew was coming our way? What would have happened if we had not come home that afternoon?

What would have happened if I had not obeyed the prompting to notice the flames nearing the gas line? What if the girls had not spotted the fire in time? What if...? What if…? What IF...?! And then God gently broke through my feverish thoughts and comforted me by reminding me of a quote from one of my favorite books, “There are no ‘what-ifs’ in God’s kingdom.” (The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.)

Early the next morning I slipped out to where the fire had occurred. The smell of charcoal still hung heavy in the crisp morning air. Shafts of light cut through the pines, marking out dappled patterns across the blackened ground. Half stepping, half sliding down the incline, I stopped at the gas meter. I just had to see it all again. There, alongside the gas line, telltale black marks paralleled the gas meter, then curved around towards the front. The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up straight and I had the feeling I was standing on hallowed ground.

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7.