Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can Someone Help Me Understand?

I really need someone to help me understand. Math is not my strong suit, so maybe I am just way far off on this one. Here are the numbers:

Obama 267,545,993
McCain 109,829,375
Clinton 233,007,664
Romney 107,070,664
Guliani 58,627,422
Edwards 51,690,164
Paul 34,518,355
Thompson 23,448,481
Richardson 23,051,269
Huckabee 16,075,487

Total 1,192,455,867

Those are not just numbers people, they represent dollars. Lots of dollars. Over 1 billion of them. Add to those dollars the 55,773,004 dollars spent by lesser know presidential candidates and you have a grand total of $1,248,228,871.00. Here let me spell that out for you, lest you think I have misplace a comma. One billion two hundred forty-eight million two hundred twenty-eight thousand eight hundred and seventy one dollars. AND WE STILL DON"T HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT!!!! How many more millions are going to be spent during this election?

Or how about this one, can anybody help me out with this little number: $500,000,000.00
Five hundred million dollars. Guess where I found that pretty little number. That was the first week sales for a video game. A VIDEO GAME! A rather poor video game at that: Grand Theft Auto.

These are just two of the many examples I could list of the amount of money wasted. Wasted, yep that's right I said wasted. Why do I think it was wasted you ask? We have to have a president right? It is an election year after all. How about the video game (the horrifying nature of the game aside), really it's not like 10 people spent 500 million dollars on the game. A whole bunch of people spent a measly 50 bucks. What's the big deal?

How many starving Ethiopian families could this have fed?
How many people could have had clean drinking water? Not just for one day, but forever because they had a well in their village.
How many children could have survived malaria, because they were given $7 in medication.
How many people could have been spared malaria, because they had been given a $10 net that could save their life?
How many babies were born infected with HIV, who otherwise could have been healthy if their mothers had access to ARV drugs?
How many new orphans are there today, because mothers and fathers lacked medication? Clean water?
How many orphaned children could have families today, because the cost of their adoptions were paid for?

All for what? So we can elect a man to run this country, who will continue to spend and waste with out rearguard to humanity. So we can learn to steal, kill, and destroy. All the while being entertained, because it's just video game after all.

Jeremiah 22:15 & 16
"15 Does it make you a king to have more and
more cedar? Did not your father have food
and drink? He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?"
declares the LORD

Lord, I cry with Habakkuk "In wrath remember mercy."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

People Who Inspire Me II

I don't know how many people have checked out my blog roll, but I hope you have stopped by those blogs at least one time. When you do you will find extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives. I hope that you will also notice that they are also incredibly ordinary people. There really is nothing special about them...apart from the Holy Spirit working in their lives, they would not be doing the extraordinary things they are. That is the great paradigm that is the Christian faith. We can do nothing, but through Him all things are possible. Left to ourselves, we have only love for ourselves. Yet because of Jesus, they can lay down their lives in sacrificial love. Not because it is easy, for some, it is the hardest thing they will ever do. Yet the Grace of God is more than enough to sustain them. I want to point out a couple of people in particular today. All of them need our prayers. Their faith in the face of adversity is what inspires me about them.

The first is a young lady who inspires me for several reasons. The foremost is how she laid down her life for another. At the ripe old age of 25, as a single woman, she brought home an amazing boy from Liberia. Not a yummy and squishy little baby (although I would fault no one for doing so, who wouldn't want one of those?) This little guys name is Issac. It really is an amazing story, how they found one another, how the Sovereign Lord brought them together, and made them a family. You see what is so amazing about this story, is that Issac has quite a serious medical condition. A condition that she knew in advance was going to require at least one long and dangerous surgery, a surgery that her son might not survive. Couple that with the very real surprises that come with adopting an older child, and you might think this young lady would say "No, not me Lord." Instead, by the grace of God she said "Yes, I love him and he is my son." Issac just had his surgery, a little over a week a ago. They are both struggling immensely right now. Would you take the time to pray for them both? Maybe even drop by her blog and let her know that they are in your prayers. They can be found by clicking here.

The second is a family, that honestly, most days I can not even begin to wrap my brain around what they have gone though, what their struggles have been. Yet still, they praise the Lord. Even when it looks as though they could not take yet another blow, God gives the grace to endure, to hold on to Him, to trust Him when He says His plans for us are for good and not evil. They have recently received some more "challenging" news. My heart hurts for them. I want to see them have a break. Even the best soldiers need rest and recuperation. I want to read about complete healing. I want to read about amazing and miraculous things. Then the Lord reminds me that I do read amazing and miraculous things, each time I read an update. It is amazing what the Lord has done thus far in all their lives. Medically, there has already been many miraculous things. Most amazing of all, they have had literally millions of people read their story. I am positive the Lord is using it to bring people to faith in Him. I am confident He is using their story to save many babies from death at the hands of an abortionist. Then there are people like me, who read their story, and are moved. Moved to deeper faith. Moved to trust my Savior more. Moved to see the amazing and miraculous things He is doing in their lives and the lives of countless others. I hope you are moved in the same way, as you read their story here.

The final family is one I read about on Brandi's blog. Someone who inspires me for entirely different reasons. Check out her blog and you will see what I mean. Anyway, so she has a post about this family, in Africa, trying to bring home their newest child. This is not their first adoption. I have a hunch it won't be their last. Now, I haven't read much of their blog, but their current adoption is what has me challenged right now. This precious sweet thing is very ill, with HIV. Stage 4 HIV. Chew on that. Think about what it means to open your home, more importantly your heart, to a very sick child. To travel across the world, to love them, hold them, and care for them. Is this mom and dad thinking about themselves? Obviously not. For them, any suffering they might face as the parents of this sweet child, are not even worthy of being compared to the worth of giving her a home. I want to be clear too, that the suffering I am thinking of is that of a parent, watching helplessly, as their child suffers. This is a challenge to me for a multitude of reasons. I never want to take the easy way, yet often I find myself doing just that. Jesus didn't take the easy way. His way was hard. Harder than anything you or I will ever be asked to do. He sent for us an example to love sacrificially, to lay down our lives, to serve rather than be served. The path is indeed narrow, but the reward is great. I pray I follow it. You can see this kind of faith in action here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Hair Raising Experience!

We had Marissa's hair braided the day before we left Uganda, and it was starting to look pretty ragged. Now those of you who know me well, know that I am hair inept. Really, have you seen my hair? How about Gracie's? Let's face it, I have no idea how to make hair look good. So why on earth God saw fit to give me a beautiful African daughter, I have no clue. Anyway, Noah and I set about the task of removing her yarn extensions from her hair. A little over a hour later, we were finished. My next task was to wash her hair up real good, and lavish it with a lovely conditioning treatment. Doesn't she look cute in her little plastic cap?

An hour or so later, and I decided it was time. I had to begin the work of learning how to do this hair thing. I am waiting for my shipment of snaps from Snapaholics, so I can't try braids just yet. I did, however, manage three very crooked puffs.

Good thing she's cute no matter how terrible her mommy is at hair.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So you may have noticed over on the left a list of blogs and web sites under the title "People Who Inspire Me." These truly are people who inspire me, all of them for differing reasons, but in some way they "spur me on to love and good works." Whether it is their commitment to the Truth, their perseverance under manifold trials, their love for the poor and the orphaned, or just the way they look at life: no doubt about it they all inspire me. So today as I was making my rounds I came across a post that in one sentence has convicted me to the core. It really was a wonderful post, so I'll let you read the whole thing, and then I fill you in on what has me so convicted. It is the post entitled

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor...

Now wasn't that an great post? So here is the part that really got to me:
There is one Scripture that keeps coming back to me from Proverbs, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” (Prov 3:27)
Just let that sink in for a moment, I mean really think about it, especially in the context of the blog post. I have to admit, I have been sitting here in my comfortable home, getting to know my two sweet new children, and falling more and more in love with them each day. Truly loving every minute of it. Yet in the back of my mind there is this constant thought "There, I am done, I have done it, I have adopted. I have given not one but two children a home, love, a family, a hope for a better future. Time for another family to step up and do the same." So there it is, isn't sin ugly? Honestly, that is what it is, sin. I can even give it a more specific name(s): Pride, Selfish Ambition, Complacency, Greed, Love of Self...I could go on and on.

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so." Couple that with James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." It seems as though the God I serve deems it good to care for orphans, and I have once again allowed my thinking to be polluted by the world. Honestly, I am not in a position to bring another orphan into our home at this time. My husband is now unemployed after all :) However, this is not likely to always be the case. It will once again be within the power of our hand to open our home. Yet here I sit, with a proud heart, closed off to even the possibility of such an endeavor. What on earth is wrong with me? Have I not already been given exceedingly and abundantly more than I deserve? Is not this one who died for me, the one who became sin for me, who paid the price so that I could be adopted, worthy of all I have and all I am? Lord forgive me, and grant me the grace to die to self, so that I might live for you and your glory.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What's In A Name

Around our house we think names are important. We have tried to give our children names that have some good meaning to them. Not as good as my friend Tamarah, who has got naming her children down as an art. For instance her newest little one has been duly name Evia Mira (I am sure I butchered the spelling there) which means "My Father God Illuminates." How cool is that? Anyway... we have been thinking about William and Melissa's names for seven months now. Now keep in mind that William and Melissa are not names that we would have chosen (not that they are bad names, just not names we would have picked) so we have had a difficult time coming up with middle names for them. For William we have decided on William Seth.

Now Melissa is another story. In Uganda no one called her Melissa, everyone called her Marissa. We are pretty sure this was a language thing. For a lot of words they exchanged the L for an R. For example, while I was in the hospital the nurse kept asking me if I was "Catheric." It took me a few minutes to figure out that she was wanting to know if I was Catholic. Now please keep in mind that I am no linguist, so I could be wrong about this. At any rate, she still does not respond right away to Melissa, but will respond to Marissa. We have been wrestling with this for a few weeks now. We agreed not to change their names, something we agree with totally. So we have gone back and forth between calling her Melissa or Marissa. Truthfully, calling her Marissa just makes more sense to us, because that is what she is most used to. We are not used to it, after all we have been calling her Melissa since December, but she is. So officially she is now Marissa Elianna. Still not a name we would have chosen, but good nonetheless.

On that note, I am thinking my blog needs a new name too. This is no longer about bringing our two pearls home, but is about our life as a family of seven, seeking to serve and glorify our Savior. So, I am on the hunt for a new and meaningful name, for this oh so public journal. Any suggestions????

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home Two Weeks

We have been home from Uganda for two weeks today. Honestly, it feels like much longer. I am not sure why, it's not like things have been difficult. In fact things are going quite well. So well in fact, that I am hesitant to mention it for fear that as soon as I do, it will all fall apart. At any rate it seems like it has been forever since we left to come home. William and Melissa and fitting in to our family wonderfully. Everyday we can see progress. They are now both willing to at least try new foods. William is beginning to see that Piper (our chocolate lab) is a friend and not a foe. The older children are adjusting to their new roles, and loving having two little ones to dote over. I would say our biggest source of grief so far is between the girls. Grace has moved into the role of big sister amazingly well...maybe a little too well. Melissa very much wants to be the center of attention as she was used to in the home), and if anyone is getting individual time with mom or dad (and grandma and grandpa) she gets very jealous and butts right in. In the beginning Grace would just defer and give up her attention so that Melissa could have it. Melissa (the depraved little sinner) picked up on this right away, and proceeded to interrupt Grace's one on one time, every time. Melissa would vie for her food, her drinks, you name it. If Grace was getting it Melissa wanted it, and Grace would give it. This really began to take a toll on Grace, as she soon realized that she needs lovin' from mom and dad too. So as we told Grace, "No you stay, there is room for both of you." Our little "Queen of Uganda" was none to pleased to realize that her throne was to be shared. We are working though it and I think that in time they will soon be good friends. I think they both just need some reassurance, that there is plenty of love to go around, and maybe a bit more training on daily dying :)

It seems that I am finally feeling better...consistently. I am still not completely well, but I can a least make it through the day now. I went to the doctor last week to have sonogram of my liver, kidneys, and spleen. As well as blood work to make sure the malaria is gone and to check to see if I have some other infectious disease from Africa that may be causing my problems. I should find out in the next day or two.

On a slightly down note, we found out yesterday that Richard lost all his contracts with D.R. Horton. Seems as though the housing crash as finally hit San Antonio. They wanted us to continue to do the same work for 3/4 the price. Basically they wanted us to drop our price to $9.00 per lot. Um, it cost us twice that to do the work. So, we are trying to figure out what the Lord would have us to do now. It is a strange place to be in. In general there is a sense of peace, we know our God is good, and knows what is best. We had talked several times over the last 9 months about our income. We seemed to know that the Lord had given this contract for the purpose of bringing William and Melissa home. It began right before we made the decision to adopt. Provided for all our normal expenses, paid off all our debt, and funded $24,000 in adoption money. Now that we are all home, I don't think it should surprise me that it is over. God's hand is so evident it every step of this journey. We are confident that He has not abandoned us to care for these children on our own. He will show us the way, and we are confident that whatever it is, it will be good. How could it not be? Please pray that Richard would have the wisdom to know what he should do. Not just about income (but please do keep that in your prayers:), but if we should sell off our equipment or keep it. Do we close the business or just change direction? I am really struggling with the thought of Richard having to work ALL the time again. We have a vision for our family, one that we have been blessed to live out for a while now. None of us are ready to give up our time with him, we value it tremendously.

Once again I am reminded that my need of grace is never ending. Thankfully His supply is limitless, and He gives it abundantly. May the name of the Lord be praised, always.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


We are home, all is well, with the exception that malaria is still kicking my butt. I will post pictures and more later....when I don't feel like death. Willaim and Melissa are doing wonderful. Although we are having a bit of a dog problem. William is TERRIFIED of Piper, Melissa thinks he is cool. God is good...all the time.